Leeds 7 Gloucester 31: Davies era ends with a whimper as Lamb leads Tykes to the slaughter

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The Independent Online

Phil Davies confirmed his resignation as director of rugby at Leeds an hour before the start of play yesterday. Having been in post for 10 years, Davies, who missed out on the Wales coaching job last week, believes it is time to move. Where to is unclear.

"It is after much soul-searching and discussion with the Tykes and my family that I have decided to resign," said Davies. "I have had a wonderful decade in Yorkshire and the Tykes will always be close to my heart. I'm utterly convinced that they will bounce straight back up to the Premiership, stronger than ever."

The club's chief executive, Gary Hetherington, acknowledged Davies' contribution and added: "There is always disappointment at a time like this. But we now enter a thorough review of our coaching and playing personnel, and that process is ongoing."

With a vacancy at Llanelli, where Davies spent most of his playing career, and maybe the job of Wales forwards coach coming up, too, Davies may well return to the Principality.

Having spent the last few weeks trying to avoid the relegation trap-door, Leeds will need to bolt the exit door if the departure of Justin Marshall is not to be the catalyst for a mass exodus. However, with Marshall released from his contract to sign for the Ospreys, Leeds will not only save £150,000 on his salary but will hope to keep the outstanding scrum-half Danny Care. The England Under-19 international, and the England Under-21 No 8 Jordan Crane are wanted by Harlequins and Northampton. Andre Snyman is on his way home to South Africa, where he hopes to make the Springbok squad in time for the World Cup. The props Kees Lensing and Rayno Gerber are also rumoured to be on their way, as are the Scots, Gordon Ross and Gordon Bulloch.

There are signs that the whole Headingley edifice is crumbling, so if Leeds are to spend only one season in National League One, as Quins did, they will need recruitment plans in place quickly. Davies' assistant, Daryl Powell, will take over until a successor is found.

With so much uncertainty off the field there was plenty more pain on it as Gloucester consigned them to a fifth consecutive defeat. The West Countrymen are pushing for a play-off semi final place to go with their Heineken Cup spot for next season.

Tom Biggs raised Leeds' hopes with a super try, but touchdowns by Mike Tindall, Andy Hazell, Peter Richards and James Simpson-Daniel, with four conversions and a penalty by Ryan Lamb, won the game for Gloucester.

Leeds: Try Biggs; Conversion Ross. Gloucester: Tries Tindall, Hazell, Richards, Simpson-Daniel; Conversions Lamb 4; Penalty Lamb.

Leeds: R de Marigny; A Snyman (D Doherty, 49), C Bell, C Jones, T Biggs (L Blackett, 63); G Ross, M McMillan (D Care, 49); M Shelley (capt), R Rawlinson (G Bulloch, 51), R Gerber (M Cusack, 34), C Murphy, T Palmer (K Myall, 40), S Morgan, N Thomas, J Crane.

Gloucester: O Morgan (L Mercier, 71); J Simpson-Daniel, M Tindall (capt; J Bailey, 42-48; 51), A Allen (H Thomas, 71), M Foster; R Lamb, P Richards; P Collazo, M Davies (O Azam, 53), J Forster (A Balding, 53), J Pendlebury, A Brown, L Narraway (A Eustace, 70), A Hazell, J Forrester.

Referee: S Davey (Sussex).