George Skivington reflects on Gloucester Rugby's season of highs and lows after final defeat

George Skivington looked like a man who had finally got off a roller coaster on Friday night as Gloucester’s tumultuous 2023/24 season came to an end with a 36-22 defeat to The Sharks in the final of the Challenge Cup.

Having led his side to two cup finals, but finished ninth in the 10-team Premiership, the Cherry and Whites director of rugby took a moment to reflect on the campaign. He said: “I'd say it's been a season of some serious ups and downs. We've had some low points; ultimately, the Prem, I've said it many times, when we lost that many games on the trot it was very hard for us to get anywhere near the play-offs.

READ MORE: Gloucester Rugby player ratings from Challenge Cup final defeat to The Sharks

“I'm proud of the group, I'm actually proud of everyone in the building that once we made a plan and said we're going after a couple of things, we did that and we stuck to it. We've fallen short on the final hurdle of getting the second trophy, which is gutting, but I think we showed that when we knuckle down and commit to something we're really good.

“There's lots of things I can take away and review and we'll be better for that next year.”

Gloucester beat Leicester Tigers 23-13 back in March to lift the Premiership Rugby Cup trophy at Kingsholm to end a nine-year wait for silverware. Now Skivington is intent that it doesn’t take another nine years for the club to add more. He said “The objective for Gloucester is we want to put some more trophies in the cabinet. I think having a final at the end of the season, getting to the big knockout games, getting to the big stadiums is what we want to do every year. I think that's why everybody's playing rugby at the end of the day. So it's brilliant to get here and it's brilliant for our squad to experience that, albeit we didn't get what we wanted.

“But also, I think it is brilliant for the supporters to experience it because it's been a good while since they've experienced coming to a big arena for a big final and you know we want that to become the norm.”

As it stands there is very title turnover in the Gloucester squad ahead of next season, with just five senior players moving on, although there are some notable figures in there with fly-half Adam Hastings and winger Jonny May headlining the departures having both started in the final, with Argentine hooker Santi Socino also on the move after scoring off the bench on his last appearance.

In come Welsh international duo Gareth Anscombe and Tomos Williams at halfback, with Christian Wade adding some fizz on the wing, but for the most part it will be the band of brothers who took the field at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium who look to kick on in 2024/25.