NIGEL Davies believes Gloucester can finally begin looking up the Premiership table after completing their festive double.
The Cherry and Whites followed up their derby victory over Worcester Warriors with a slender 22-19 victory over London Irish at the Madejski Stadium.
They made a nightmare start in Reading as Fergus Mulchrone crossed after just 63 seconds but a try from Jonny May and the boots of Billy Twelvetrees and Freddie Burns was enough to see Gloucester home with four points in tow.
Davies was delighted to secure back-to-back triumphs to end a shaky 2013 on a high – now he has challenged his side to continue to build momentum against league leaders Saracens.
He said: “It was great to get this result on the back of Worcester and it gives us momentum going into the new year.
“It builds momentum, confidence and belief in the team after a crucial Christmas period where we really had to get two wins. It allows us to start looking upwards rather than downwards.
“It’s about belief, knowing you can do it and the best sides hang in games and win games at the death because they keep hold of that faith.
“It takes time to hold onto that belief but we are starting to grow that.”
Davies is under no illusions of the magnitude of the challenge Saracens pose and he is well aware that there is plenty of work to do.
While Twelvetrees slotted in and orchestrated at 10 to impressive effect and boasted a 100 per cent record with boot, Gloucester far too often played static rugby, taking the ball standing still. Conceding three tries to one will also give Davies plenty of defensive headaches but he was pleased with the unrelenting spirit displayed by his side.
He added: “We made hard work of it right at the start and right at the end. There have been a lot of games where we have controlled things for the majority of the game but not come through and won but we managed to do that against London Irish off the back of the Worcester win.
“We gave away a sloppy try at the start and to be fair to London Irish they took it well but for the rest of the game we were pretty much in control.
“We’ve lost games because we haven’t taken our kicks in the past but that wasn’t the case which was great and we managed the game well and played in the right areas.
“Defensively we were in there and made it difficult because Irish are a difficult side. We’re growing but there are still elements I wasn’t happy with.”