Lloyd Evans looks set to be given another 23 games to prove he is a top end Premiership fly-half.
The 25-year-old Welshman signed a new deal with the Cherry Whites in the Autumn but could hardly have imagined he would be the club’s starting fly-half for 90 percent of the season.
But with Danny Cipriani leaving the club with immediate effect this week having played just 80 minutes this season, in the 38-15 defeat to Leicester Tigers on the opening day, that is exactly the prospect he and 20-year-old England U20s stand-off George Barton face until new signing Adam Hastings arrives next summer.
Within an hour of confirming Cipriani’s departure at lunch time, the club confirmed the capture of the 22-cap Scotland international Hastings from Glasgow Warriors to soften the blow of the loss of their mercurial star.
Speaking to the press following the news breaking on Tuesday, head coach George Skivington said he is 100 percent confident the likes of Evans and Barton can carry the team through the season in the pivotal role at 10.
He said: “The beauty of coming into the team at the end of last season [having taken over from Johan Ackermann during lockdown] and challenging people and testing people is some guys who hadn’t been exposed as often as they could have got a chance to play, and I am always going to see things different from the coaches who have come before.
“Someone like Lloyd [Evans] hasn’t had a lot of exposure and he will going forward, and so will George [Barton] because I thought his composure was outstanding at the weekend [on his Champions Cup debut in the 55-10 defeat at Lyon].
Discussing the players in more depth, Skivington, who has already handed Evans a start in round two and three of the Gallagher Premiership with Cipriani reportedly struggling with injury niggles, said: “Lloyd is coming along really well.
“He is young and hungry and he is Gloucester through and through and he is really enjoying working with Alex King [attack coach] developing his game.
“He had a great game against Wasps and it is unfortunate he got a head bang against Quins because he was on form and it would have been interesting to see that game out with him on the field.
“Lloyd is here for the future and he is doing a great job and we are all very excited about that.
“George Barton really impressed me at the weekend and I think George has got a big future at the club going forward.”
Asked whether he will bring in a short-term signing to help cover fly-half, with his more senior option of England international centre Billy Twelvetrees also unavailable having suffered an ankle injury which requires minor surgery, but is expected to keep him out until the end of January, Skivington said: “We are okay now.
“It is something we will review and have the conversations we have to have behind the scenes and work out where we stand and where we think we need cover.
“That is an ongoing exercise all the time and when you get smashed with injuries over a certain period you are always thinking where can I plug that hole, how long is that guy out for.
“Those are pretty fluid conversations which are happening all the time anyway.”
In terms of signings Skivington has backed up his words with actions this week, signing Argentina full-back Santiago Carreras on Friday and is expected to soon add Georgian international centre Giorgi Kveseladze.
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But going back to the fly-half situation, with Ulster up this weekend at Kingsholm in the Champions Cup, and looking further ahead Skivington said: “Lloyd and George are coming through well and that puts us in a good spot.
“It is always sad when you have got to say goodbye to somebody of Danny’s quality in a squad but after the conversations I have had with Danny I am very comfortable this is the right thing for him to do.
“I know he is excited to move on.
“We have just got to adapt and work out a plan around not having Danny here which is just another job for the coaches.”