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- European Rugby Champions Cup
- Pool 6
- 23rd Jan 2009
- KO 20:00
- Ground: Parc des Sports Aguilera
- Att: 7,000
Ryan reveals ref fury
Anger over red card call as Gloucester lose European hopes
Gloucester coach Dean Ryan has blasted the referee after seeing his side crash out of the Heineken Cup in Biarritz.
The Cherry and Whites lost 24-10 after trailing by 17 points in as many minutes, ending their European campaign for another season.
But Ryan was left fuming at referee Nigel Owens, who punished a first-half trip on Iain Balshaw by Damien Traille with only a yellow card.
"I don't want it to be the headline but when you are playing in a game like this with small margins, a deliberate trip is a red card," said Ryan.
"I didn't see it as anything else."
But whatever the referee's perceived failings, there is nowhere to hide for the fact that big improvement is needed for Gloucester.
"But we have to accept we're out of Europe. The last three weeks we have played in horrendous weather conditions and we ran the ball more than we should have," added Ryan.
"But we have to play better than that in those conditions. We've got to work on our kicking game and we always pride ourselves on moving the ball around.
"But that has come crashing down around us in the last few weeks."
The lion's share of the damage was done in the first quarter of the match, but a battling second-half performance led by James Simpson-Daniel inspired something of a fight back - not that it could halt their slide out of the competition.
Ryan said: "It wasn't the easiest start for us and we were always up against it ever since we didn't perform at the Millennium Stadium against Cardiff Blues.
"To concede 17 points over 80 minutes would not have been a problem but to do so early on made it extremely difficult.
"But I'm proud we did not take a hammering and the players work-rate was excellent. We were missing players with physicality.
"Being in the Heineken Cup is about having a full squad and the here and now."