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
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future