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Gloucester Rugby: Davies - We deserve Amlin Challenge Cup quarter final

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 19, 2013

Nigel Davies

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MY team deserve a home quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup – and we want to host the biggest and best in Europe.

That's the message from Gloucester boss Nigel Davies, who has warned the Cherry and Whites never to underestimate anyone ever again.

Gloucester host Mont de Marsan at Kingsholm today (kick-off 3pm) with club officials confident the game will beat the snow flurries.

Victory today will secure the Cherry and Whites a Kingsholm quarter-final in the second-tier European competition, against a side dropping down from the Heineken Cup.

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Results could conspire for Gloucester to travel to rivals Bath in the next round – but not if they see out a sixth-straight win today.

Tempting as a local derby may be, Davies said he cannot think of anything better than squaring up to a true European giant in the last eight.

Admitting that Gloucester still want to repay the supporters for their lacklustre 18-12 defeat by London Irish on January 5, Davies has demanded his players expect a tough home encounter this afternoon.

Davies explained: "It would be huge to get a home quarter-final, it's only what this team deserves, if you look at this competition in isolation I think we've done very well in a tough group, and to come out of it with five wins so far is credit to this group of players.

"If we get that home draw it would be a fantastic occasion, it obviously gives us a little bit more advantage as well.

"But I think for us to have probably close to a sell-out crowd at Kingsholm for a massive fixture against one of the top European teams would be a fantastic occasion for us all in what is the first year of a two to three-year journey that we're on.

"So the bigger the better at Kingsholm. We've got to get used to playing against the best teams, and we've got to get used to playing in knockout tournaments.

"Getting to a play-off would allow us to do that.

"It's a great experience in its own right, managing that, but to gain that experience as a group would be invaluable, with the ambitions that we have.

"Complacency is certainly something we've got to be guarded against, because as we've admitted before, that was definitely a problem against London Irish.

"I would like to think we've learned our lesson about that though, and I sincerely believe we'll see a different team this weekend.

"We were disappointed of course with that, and we know we've got to make up for that and there's no better place to do that than at Kingsholm.

"It would be great to give the supporters a victory and a performance too, that they can really hold up.

"So that's what we're after this weekend.

"We hope to finish the job tomorrow, but to do that we've got to disregard completely any expectations on our opponents.

"Whatever anyone else has said about them, we've got to be ready for a seriously tough contest.

"We didn't prepare ourselves for that against London Irish and we paid the price.

"We won't make the same mistake again."

Gloucester's bullish and robust qualities have propelled them into a regimented side that is usually difficult to beat.

But now Davies is still pushing his players to push forward and start attacking with more incision.

The former Wales centre continued: "We've seen enough evidence that we're not that far away.

"We have to be mindful of where we are, appreciate what we've got as a team right now, which is very important and the dog that everyone talks about is certainly there.

"Everybody here is working hard to add that extra dimension to our game.

"Overall we're still moving in the right direction, but we never really got up to speed out in France.

"We got the result though and that was vital.

"And now we're desperate to get completely back on track this weekend.

"We are underpinning what we're doing with something solid, and we need to sustain and even improve that, but at the same time we do want to start playing some more rugby, and build on what we've achieved so far.

"So we're still looking to move to the next stage of our development."

Fit-again Henry Trinder and Jonny May returned in last week's 31-26 victory in Bordeaux, but Davies admitted both must still shake off a fair amount of rustiness.

He added: "It was important for those guys to get that first game under their belts, they were obviously rusty but they showed glimpses of what they can do.

"Hopefully this week they'll be a bit further down the line and that will be reflected in their performance."

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  • CamCampbell  |  January 20 2013, 10:19AM

    Rupert Harden is the top rated and best tight head prop at Gloucester bar none.

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  • Deadeye_Glaws  |  January 20 2013, 10:09AM

    Without an once of a doubt, Rupert Harden, our first choice tight head, is the best number 3 at Gloucester Rugby.

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  • dougiebailey  |  January 20 2013, 10:03AM

    Nigel Davies, the knowledgeable DoR and professional head coach at Gloucester Rugby has made Harden his first choice tight-head, selecting Harden to start 9 out of the first 11 Premiership games this season. Says it all, really.

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  • Drusus  |  January 20 2013, 9:59AM

    Harden = the best tight head at Gloucester.

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  • rayglaws  |  January 20 2013, 9:56AM

    Harden owns the number 3 shirt. He has no real competition for it.

    |   6
  • LucaTowers  |  January 20 2013, 9:55AM

    Rupert Harden has 9 starts in premiership games for Gloucester this season, plus another two. That makes him the top rated tight head at Gloucester in anyone's books (except for the sad old lonely irrelevant troll akadau/graybaggs/glawsteruk1 who is pretty clueless about everything, really).

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  • stewglos  |  January 20 2013, 9:52AM

    Nigel Davies picks the team. He has a choice of tight heads, yet, when it comes to the key games, he always goes for Harden.

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  • Archie_Brew  |  January 20 2013, 9:50AM

    Harden was having a storming season up until his injury. It is no wonder he has been selected to start the most games of all the front row forwards. And not just any old games. It has been the key games where you need your best players.

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  • garthshawX  |  January 20 2013, 9:48AM

    Rupert Harden is an utterly brilliant tight head and Nigel Davies knows it, hence 9 Premiership starts in the first half of the season.

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  • Steve_George  |  January 20 2013, 9:41AM

    We all know that you are boring. You are a multi-ID Gloucester Rugby and Rupert Harden hating troll who has nothing better to do in life other than to sit up until the early hours of the morning trolling, you pathetic sad lonely old man.

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