Gloucester 38 Edinburgh 22: Simpson-Daniel purrs over Gloucester's new potential

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The Independent Online

Kingsholm has traditionally spawned hulking great forwards. Not too much has changed; forwards are still coming off the production line and indeed they are probably bigger, certainly no less powerful, and definitely far more mobile.

The difference between this century and the last is that the present power pack is being charged by an electric set of backs.

On Saturday there was, however, a problem. Rather like a set of Christmas lights, when one lot fizzed, the other lot fizzled out. It almost cost them as Edinburgh battled back into the match, responding in kind to Gloucester's running game.

The home team's head coach, Dean Ryan, said: "What we've got to get is a balance between the two. We've got a huge attacking threat and we've got massive power. Our use of these is something we need to get smart about."

When Gloucester managed to fuse together it was impressive stuff which had James Simpson-Daniel, the scorer of the second of five tries, waxing lyrical.

"Forwards and backs are getting involved now," said the wing, who made breaks throughout a thrilling game. "In the olden days, well a few years ago anyway, you would not have found second-row forwards like Marco Bortolami and Alex Brown out wide, offloading in the build-up to Anthony Allen's try. It is exciting playing in this Gloucester side."

Of course, Simpson-Daniel is after a place in England's squad. Injury permitting, he is coming nicely into Test form.

"I've never had that England shirt for a number of games in a row," he said. "It always seems to have been a case of one in, one out, then injury. So after playing well for Gloucester it is my aim to be involved with England again in what is going to be a huge year for them with the World Cup."

Right now, though, he is focused on Gloucester's European fortunes. "Each week in Europe is a cup final for us," he said. "We have to perform up there."

Ryan concurred: "We've got a massive game next week in [Edinburgh's] back yard. Their Heineken Cup survival also rests on the outcome of that match, so there is a lot at stake for both teams.But back-to-back matches are incredibly difficult for the side that wins the first one, especially when you have to go away from home to win that second one.

"If you poke a stick into a hornets nest and come back five minutes later it is not the same hornets nest. We've got a serious test to get through. We know a little bit more about each other. The first game is always done off video; the second is done off reality."

There is likely to be a sting in this particular tale.

Gloucester: Tries Tindall, Simpson-Daniel, Azam, Allen, Foster; Conversions Walker 2; Penalties Walker, Lamb; Drop goal Walker. Edinburgh: Tries Cairns, Southwell, Di Rollo; Conversions Paterson 2; Penalty Paterson.

Gloucester: O Morgan (I Balshaw, 72); J Simpson-Daniel, M Tindall, A Allen, M Foster; W Walker (R Lamb, 53), P Richards (R Lawson, 58); P Collazo (C Califano, 65), O Azam, C Nieto, M Bortolami (capt), A Brown, P Buxton, J Boer, L Narraway (A Balding, 47).

Edinburgh: H Southwell; C Paterson (capt), M Di Rollo, D Hodge, B Cairns; P Godman, M Blair; A Jacobsen, D Hall, A Dickinson (D Hewett, 73), M Mustchin, S Murray, A Strokosch, R Rennie, D Callam (S Taylor, 51).

Referee: T Hayes (Wales).

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