Despite losing to Worcester at Sixways on Sunday afternoon Gloucester sealed their first playoff place in eight years. Robert Rees looks back over the season to highlight five key men that have helped achieve this feat.
The former Leicester loosehead knows how to win the Premiership having done it with the Tigers back in 2013. Having to endure a full season of rugby due to injuries to Gareth Denman and Ruan Dreyer the 27-year-old has proved invaluable for Johan Ackermann’s men this season.
The durability for a prop forward to play 25 largely full games of rugby so far this year is impressive. To do it in such a dominant fashion is a far more extraordinary.
Powerful in the scrums and a reliable carrying threat around the park he’s often gone unnoticed by many fans. ‘Shedheads’ have however noticed him and his work rate and dominance across this season have given Gloucester front foot ball.
The other half of the Cherry and Whites heroic front row this season, Hohneck has found a sublime run of form that has seen him fight the starting jersey out of the hands of Val Rapava Ruskin and Paddy McAllister.
Offering a strong base at the set piece and a never ending desire to defend Hohneck has been vital to the success Gloucester have had.
With injuries to his fellow tighthead props he, like Balmain, has had to withstand a lot of rugby this season. A huge amount of rugby for such an attritional position.
Scoring his sole try against Bath, he has contributed massively in getting over the gain line and has superbly rendered a passing game that any front row player would be proud of.
Distribution may not be his forte but he has taken his Super Rugby skill set and brought it to Kingsholm for the better. Having played a part in the Highlanders first ever Super Rugby success in his final season he knows how to win silverware and will prove an asset to Gloucester’s post season.
The South African lock was brought in from the Bulls over the summer and joined up post Super Rugby season. Since joining he’s made a huge impact. Just ask the opposition players he’s been tackling every game.
A huge presence across the park, a stalwart in the carrying game and has overcome slight language barriers to call the lineouts. A leader on the field has settled in well with the head coach he knows so well from his days at the Bulls.
Despite playing only 14 times so far his mammoth efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. His ferocious attacking ability and stone wall defensive attributes have settled Gloucester’s playoff spot up nicely.
The Gallagher Premiership’s top carrier has boosted Gloucester’s attack with his powerful running game. Utilised all around the park, even going deep from kick offs, Morgan’s physical edge has been the difference for Gloucester.
25 games into a hard season he shows no signs of slowing down as he offers Gloucester a powerful first up runner as well as plenty of experience of high pressure rugby.
Having spent some time in the England camp last year he’ll bring forward a whole heap of experience and leadership for the playoff race ahead.
The English fly half may have fallen out of favour with Eddie Jones, but he’s certainly a fans favourite at Kingsholm. Gloucester’s best shout of player of the season also now sits comfortably knowing he has another three years to come at the club.
His silky running style and blissful passing has wooed many a punter this season and delivered BT Sport with an endless showreel of snazzy plays.
His leadership from the highest level has given Johan Ackermann’s men that extra boost they required, not only with a world class fly half but an experienced one too.
The extra width and speed of the ball he has added has allowed his outside backs to thrive in space whilst he remains the highest kicker from hand in the league.
His kicking has been precise and although he has handed over tee kicking duties over to Billy Twelvetrees he remains a staple in the Gloucester territorial kicking game.