JONNY May has urged Gloucester to maintain momentum in the final match of their unsuccessful Heineken Cup campaign.
The Cherry and Whites were dumped out of Europe by Munster and face Perpignan in an ultimately dead-rubber match at Stade Aimé Giral on Sunday.
But May insists there is plenty to play for at the infamous ‘bull ring’ and reckons Gloucester can finally begin to rescue their tumultuous season.
He said: “We’re out of the pool but it’s still Heineken Cup rugby and that’s something to get excited about. Let’s go out and have a crack at them. There are big games every week and we haven’t been winning many. You can see players let their heads down, especially last week against Saracens but we can’t make excuses.
“We set the bar against Munster and if you want to be a successful team, whether in Europe or the Premiership, you need to front up every week.
“We haven’t done that this year but there’s plenty of time to turn it around.
“If we brought that attitude and intensity every week we would be in a very different position domestically.
“But we have to build on this. We have said it so many times this year but it has to be the case this time. This has to be the turning point.”
The 13-point difference against Munster, would suggest the Irish province were comfortable winners at Kingsholm but May insists it was far closer than reflected on the scoreboard. And had it not been for incessant inaccuracies, Nigel Davies’ men might still be alive in Europe.
But May would rather Gloucester being guilty of trying to play too much rugby than sticking it up the jumper and insists his teammates can sleep easy following the latest defeat.
He added: “Rugby’s a funny game, a high percentage of it is mental and with pretty much the same players we delivered a different performance to Saracens.
“Parts of our accuracy and decision-making weren’t good enough but that can be accepted. What’s not acceptable is going out and not giving everything.
“I don’t like losing and I don’t like making mistakes but at least I can say I gave it everything. It wasn’t quite good enough and we came up short but at least we can sleep well.
“We’ve gone out to play and maybe we threw it out the back a bit too much. But I’d rather over-play than under-play – it’s just finding that balance and managing the game a bit better and the opportunities will come.
“It was closer than the scoreline suggested.
“If we had taken our kicks we could have been up 13-10 up at half-time. They didn’t look like breaking us down, it was just the one kick and a pick and go for their tries.
“We played a lot of rugby but credit to their defence, it was a wall that was hard to break down.
“Their contact work is slightly different and they got away with bits and bobs and slowed our ball down. We threw everything at them but couldn’t break them down.”