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).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'