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Gloucester Rugby: Ryan Walkinshaw warns Nigel Davies that anything less than top four is a failure

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 13, 2014

Ryan Walkinshaw has outlined his expectations for next season

RYAN Walkinshaw has warned Nigel Davies that anything less than a top four finish next season would be a failure.

Speaking at an official Fans Forum the Gloucester chairman out-lined his expectations after a so far tumultuous season that sees the Cherry and Whites languish ninth in the Aviva Premiership.

But the motor racing mogul has every confidence the club is moving in the right direction, as Nigel Davies implements a shift in culture, and reckons there is no reason why they should not fulfil his ambitions.

He said: “From where the club is financially and with the support, cultures and traditions, anything less than top four is considered a failure. Top six is an absolute minimum which we should be reaching in a bad year.

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“From the board, and as a shareholder, we expect the top four and to be brutally honest I would be disappointed if Nigel said anything different. That’s what we would like, what we expect and what we see as absolute minimum.

“There’s no reason why we can’t be in the top four. The recruitment drive has been the largest since I’ve been around and probably ever, with the amount of work that has gone into it.

“The ultimate aim is to win the Premiership. We have come close so many times, it’s frustrating but it does drive us and is something we definitely feel we can achieve.”

Davies and Walkinshaw have already made a statement of their intent with a trio of forward signings for next season in John Afoa, Richard Hibbard and Mariano Galarza.

They are still in the market for another second-row and fly-half remains a priority with Freddie Burns’ impending move to Leicester Tigers’ set to be confirmed following this weekend’s clash between the two sides.

Walkinshaw confirmed the club will operate to the full salary cap and insists there are further high-calibre signings to be announced and Davies confirmed one fly-half has already put pen to paper.

The club have remained tight-lipped on the identity of Burns’ successor but New Zelander Gareth Anscombe has emerged as the latest candidate alongside the likes of Stephen Brett, who has also attracted interest from London Irish, and Rhys Priestland.

Davies said: “Recruitment has been a key priority for both the club and myself, to balance the squad in line with the core values.

“We’ve already secured the services of one player at fly-half and we’re looking to continue that. Things are quite delicate on that front right now but I’m working very hard and I’m confident we will get the right balance and type of player.

“I won’t bring a player who people see as a big name but hasn’t got the attributes we want. That would be worst thing we could do but I’m confident we will have some quality in that position and a quality goal-kicker.”

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