Despite helping Bath Rugby to a bonus-point victory last weekend against Bristol Bears at Twickenham, Tom Ellis admits that there is room for improvement ahead of Saturday’s West Country derby at Kingsholm.
Ellis explained: “It’s the outcome that we wanted, but we didn’t quite deliver the performance that we wanted on the day. From scoring three early tries we felt we took our foot off the gas. We have looked at ourselves this week and it’s a case of putting those things right for the weekend.”
“Callum Sheedy kicked four penalties in that first half and to give away four kickable shots at goal is unforgivable. We need to work on our discipline, especially in our own half. Equally, I thought there was some great attack and some great defensive sets. It’s just backing them up by not conceding a penalty in the subsequent phases.”
Rhys Priestland’s second half try at the weekend, came off the back of some superb defensive pressure, as Bristol looked to attack out of their 22. Ellis explains how Attack Coach Girvan Dempsey is a firm believer in the phrase, ‘the best form of attack is defence.’
The back rower added: “Girvs (Girvan Dempsey) has said all week that if we keep working on our defence then we will score off the back of our defensive sets, and that happened. That’s great when a coach has been drilling stuff all week and it comes to fruition. It builds confidence in what you are doing, so we will take that into this weekend.”
Over 60,000 supporters descended on Twickenham for the third edition of ‘The Clash’ and having played in all three, Ellis was delighted to be a part of another spectacle at the home of England Rugby.
“It was great - I’m lucky enough to have played in all three, which is relatively rare having spoken to the boys. I thought the atmosphere was as good as I have experienced and it was great to see so many supporters make their way up to Twickenham.”
With just four games to go, points are at a premium with the Gallagher Premiership so tightly contested. However, the sole focus for the 24 year-old is on the in-form Cherry and Whites and ensuring the team build from last week's performance.
“The week feels a lot better off the back of a win at the weekend, but our performance wasn’t where we wanted it to be, so we are going to have to stay grounded this week. We got five points against Bristol, but we are on to the next job now, so we have to bury it and move on.”
Currently occupying third in the table, Gloucester will have their sights on putting more distance between them and the chasing pack. Ellis is quick to acknowledge their form and knows that the Blue, Black and White are in for another hotly contested West Country derby.
“I think they have been really good this season. They have been playing a good style of rugby and they have been working hard for each other. We need to make sure we stay connected - they play well off nine and 10, so we've got to be smart particularly at the breakdown.
“It’s (Kingsholm) a good place to play. You’ll get called out if you make an error but it’s all good fun, you’ve just got to smile and get on with it. I think the boys relish those opportunities to play in front of hostile crowds and I think it can be inspirational for them.”