Ryan condemns use of uncontested scrums as Gloucester edge home

Gloucester 28
Northampton 24

Northampton had four players consigned to the sin bin and could have had a couple more sent there during a less than edifying match. The rash of second-half yellow cards against the Saints created the situation which angered Ryan.

Midway through the half the replacement hooker Dan Richmond was sin-binned. Dylan Hartley, who had started the match in the No 2 shirt and had appeared to have been replaced for tactical reasons, remained on the sidelines with an unspecified "upper body" injury, according to his head coach, Budge Pountney.

No problem - Steve Thompson, England's first-choice hooker, was playing on the Saints' blind-side flank. He would be able move into the front row.

But after a lot of shilly-shallying it emerged that Thompson was carrying a "neck injury" and Saints did not want to risk a more serious injury by moving him up. Consequently, after a confused series of substitutions, the rest of the match was played with uncontested scrums.

That suited Saints, who were outplaying the Cherry and Whites out wide but losing out at close quarters.

Ryan said: "There's too many uncontested scrums happening. They are happening at very opportune moments, and in the right areas of the field - five metres from a side's tryline. It would be an interesting study to see if a team with a dominant scrum has ever gone to uncontested scrums.

"These sort of things have to be looked at. The bottom line is that although we cannot risk players' health, we cannot afford to allow ourselves to be manipulated because of that fear of injury. We have jumped so far this way that I think we are being manipulated as a body. Five years ago you never had uncontested scrums."

When Saints had eight bodies up front they were manipulated by Gloucester's extremely able pack. Their driving of the maul was executed with ruthlessness and speed.

Gloucester should have been awarded a penalty try after a series of drives off line-outs, when Saints' only defence appeared to be up-ending the catcher.

But Saints were a league above Gloucester's backs. Carlos Spencer may lack a little speed these days, but the former All Black still has one of the quickest brains. His chip, chase and gather to set up the try for Damien Browne was exemplary.

The scoring pass for that came from Thompson, who later on became the fourth player to be sin-binned - a record for one club in the same match in the Premiership. Add Gloucester's yellow card for the full-back Rob Thirlby and you have a record aggregate.

Gloucester: Tries Richards, Boer, Simpson-Daniel; Conversions Mercier 2; Penalties Mercier 3. Northampton: Tries Thompson, Clarke, Browne; Conversions Reihana 3; Penalty Reihana.

Gloucester: R Thirlby (J Goodridge, 76); M Foster, M Tindall (capt), H Paul, J Simpson-Daniel; L Mercier, P Richards (H Thomas, 51); P Collazo (T Sigley, 80), O Azam (M Davies, 76), G Powell, A Eustace, A Brown, P Buxton, J Boer (A Hazell, 76), J Forrester.

Northampton: B Reihana (capt); S Lamont, J Clarke, D Quinlan, B Cohen; C Spencer, M Robinson; T Smith, D Hartley (Easter 47; B Sturgess, 58; M Soden, 70) C Budgen, M Lord (S Boome, 56), D Browne, S Thompson, D Fox, M Easter (D Richmond, 40).

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert
Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Ashley Giles: 'I'll watch England – but not as a fan'

Former one-day coach says he will ‘observe’ their World Cup games – but ‘won’t be jumping up and down’
Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

Holocaust Memorial Day

Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

Magnetic north

The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness