Redpath keeping his feet on the ground
February 26, 2011
Gloucester's Alasdair Strokosch goes on the offensive during Saturday's win at Northampton © Getty Images
Gloucester head coach Bryan Redpath is remaining downbeat on his side's play-off chances despite admitting that Saturday's 18-16 victory over Northampton Saints at a windswept Franklin's Gardens was a "massive statement of intent".
The Cherry and Whites displaced the Saints in third place in the Aviva Premiership standings last weekend and managed to put five points between themselves and their play-off rivals with a hard-fought win which owed much to a first-half brace from winger Jonny May and a spirited second-half rearguard action.
"It's a massive statement of intent, but I'm aware of where we are and aware of where they are too," Redpath said after his team's eighth successive win in all competitions. "We're doing the basics well, not getting too panicky, worrying, or getting over excited and carried away.
"I thought we handled the conditions very well in the first half, Nicky (Robinson) kicked well and we took two opportunities that came our way. Sometimes you tend to panic and kick the ball away in wind like that, worrying too much about territory, but I thought we balanced that well in the first half."
Academy product May was only playing because of an injury to Charlie Sharples but Redpath insisted that he had had no doubts about the 20-year-old's ability to step up to the mark in what was only his second Premiership start of the season.
"Anyone who watches A team rugby can see that he can finish with the best of them, but I'm delighted for Jonny, he's young and he's raw, and with James Simpson-Daniel, Leslie Vainikolo and Charlie Sharples out, it was a great opportunity for him," he said. "It was a good learning curve for him, and he should enjoy his performance."
Meanwhile, Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder admitted that his troops are reeling after slumping to their fifth successive league defeat, meaning the early season pace-setters are now in serious jeopardy of missing out on the play-offs.
"We've got to be tighter in defence and sharper in attack; we've lost a bit of confidence," he said. "We were playing well through the autumn internationals, so we cannot use the Six Nations as an excuse. I had hoped we would continue the composure we showed at the start of the second half, but we gave away weak, stupid penalties and that stung us."
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