George Skivington vows to revitalise Gloucester’s Premiership fortunes next year

The west country club have won just four Premiership games this season.

Gloucester rugby director George Skivington saw his team crushed by Northampton
Gloucester rugby director George Skivington saw his team crushed by Northampton (Joe Giddens/PA)

George Skivington has vowed Gloucester will go “very hard at the Premiership next season” as a miserable domestic campaign nears its conclusion.

Despite winning just four of 17 league games this term, Gloucester could still end it with two trophies.

The Premiership Rugby Cup has already been secured and they will face South African challengers the Sharks in this season’s EPCR Challenge Cup final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on May 24.

Should Gloucester beat the Sharks, they will secure qualification for the 2024-25 Investec Champions Cup.

A decision was made to target cup competitions after a club record nine successive Premiership losses between late October and early January left Gloucester with no realistic hope of challenging for the play-offs.

But Skivington’s team face their final league match against Newcastle on Saturday following a 90-0 annihilation by title-chasing Northampton, when Saints scored 14 tries.

It was the heaviest Premiership defeat in Gloucester’s history and rugby director Skivington said: “I can’t make any excuses around the scoreline or the performance and nor will I.

“It is an embarrassing scoreline and I can’t defend it. I don’t think anyone here is pointing fingers – we have all got accountability for what happened.

“We have chosen what we are focusing on, but it doesn’t make that loss any easier.

“That scoreline is very painful, and there is a good bit of digging to do through the off-season around how we manage the squad next season and up-skill some players.

“This is probably one of those that I will put into the back pocket and have a really good look at in the off-season rather than putting any energy into it now, because we have got to move forward quickly.

“I don’t think the result adds pressure to us. I don’t think it changes our focus and what we have set out to do.

“When we made the decision to go after two cups, at that point we could probably climb a place or two in the Premiership, which might excite some people that we could finish mid-table or whatever, but we knew we weren’t getting anywhere near the play-offs.

“Some will disagree, but I would think supporters would be more excited about going to finals than climbing up a couple of places in the Premiership.

“I don’t try and pretend our Premiership season has been okay. It hasn’t been.

“I had much better ambitions than that for the Premiership, but once it got away from us it got away from us. Next season, we will be going very hard at the Premiership.

“I understand why people are upset. This year in the Premiership we have fallen short too many times.

“I need to work out how we are more competitive in the Premiership next season, which I am very confident we will be.”

Three days on from Gloucester wilting horribly at Franklin’s Gardens as Skivington made 12 changes to his starting line-up, he had further praise for Northampton.

Sam Matavesi was among the try-scorers in Northampton’s rout of Gloucester
Sam Matavesi was among the try-scorers in Northampton’s rout of Gloucester (Robbie Stephenson/PA)

“I’ve watched that game back four times and to be fair to Saints they were absolutely ruthless,” he added.

“I don’t think I have ever seen a team keep the pedal to the floor like that for 80 minutes in any context.

“They were on it from minute one and they never let us off, they never let us breathe and we struggled with that massively.”