Ryan hails Gloucester's budding Red Rose talents

Gloucester 27 Newcastle 20
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The Independent Online

The likes of Gloucester's Olly Morgan, Anthony Allen and Haydn Thomas, together with Newcastle's Toby Flood, James Hoyle and Mathew Tait, had a capacity crowd buzzing.

And the men in charge were equally enthusiastic. Gloucester head coach, Dean Ryan, and Newcastle's director of rugby, Rob Andrew, were unstinting in their praise.

"I thought Anthony Allen was outstanding," said Ryan of the 19-year-old former Millfield School pupil. "He did not look as if he had never played in the Premiership. And that was Olly Morgan's third game in the League. They looked like seasoned players."

Andrew said: "What the clubs are producing is fantastic. There will never be a problem with playing talent in England because we have a huge playing population and the system for finding them and bringing them on is better now."

You only had to watch fullback Morgan, another product of Millfield, to appreciate that. He was just 20 last week but played like a veteran.

As for Allen, he looks the finished product. His pass was perfection, with timing, pace and power. He has a turn of speed and the tackle with which he hit Falcons' flanker Mike McCarthy early in the second half, not only saved a certain try, but revealed a player who had spotted the danger early and clearly reads the game superbly.

And according to Ryan the talent is not confined to the backs. "There are a lot of good young forwards around, but it is always going to be a longer time line for them to develop. You cannot throw a 19-year-old forward into matches at this level. But they are there for the future."

Ultimately Gloucester's superiority up front, which presented the backs with at times a flood of quality ball, proved the crucial difference. Their opening try was a direct result of some superb driving from a penalty line-out before James Forrester touched down over on the right. More good stuff from the power pack ensured Peter Richards of his try midway through the second half.

Gloucester: Tries Forrester, Richards; Conversion Mercier; Penalties Mercier 5. Newcastle: Tries Harris, Wilkinson; Conversions Wilkinson 2; Penalties Wilkinson 2.

Gloucester: O Morgan; M Foster, J Simpson-Daniel, A Allen (T Fanolua, 63), R Thirlby; L Mercier (B Davies, 40-41), H Thomas (P Richards, 56); P Collazo, J Parkes (R Elloway, 80), T Sigley (G Powell, 47), Q Davids (M Cornwell, 63), A Eustace, P Buxton (capt; A Balding, 43-50), A Hazell, J Forrester (A Balding, 56).

Newcastle: M Burke; T May (J Shaw, 66), M Tait, T Flood, J Hoyle; J Wilkinson (capt), J Grindal; M Ward, M Thompson, R Morris (T Paoletti,79), L Gross (J Smithson, 61), A Buist, M McCarthy (T Paoletti, 40-45), C Harris, O Finegan.

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).

Attendance: 12,500.