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Gloucester Rugby: We must put down marker against Sarries

By The Citizen  |  Posted: November 27, 2012

big TEST:  Gloucester boss Nigel Davies is relishing the test at Saracens on Sunday

big TEST: Gloucester boss Nigel Davies is relishing the test at Saracens on Sunday

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RESURGENT Gloucester must challenge the Premiership pecking order this season, believes Nigel Davies.

The Gloucester boss has called on his men to build on their strong start to the league campaign and start chipping away at the established Premiership power structures.

The Cherry and Whites sit third in the table after nine matches – level on points with second-placed Saracens and one point shy of leaders Harlequins.

Only points-difference puts Saracens ahead of rugby director Davies' men – and the two sides meet at Vicarage Road on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

Former Wales centre Davies has never made any grand predictions for Gloucester's season but he has put no limits on their progress either.

As far as the Kingsholm boss is concerned, nothing has changed – but he does admit his men have a good platform to start muscling in on the recent successes enjoyed by the likes of Saracens, Harlequins and Leicester.

Gloucester's 29-3 Sale victory on Saturday was their sixth in nine league clashes so far this term.

Reflecting on his side's strong start, Davies explained: "There's a long way to go but we're pleased with where we are, there's a traditional hierarchy but we'd like to think we can challenge that.

"But there's a lot of work to do to make that happen.

"It's a massive test for us against Saracens, and that's the kind of game we need to take points from if we are going to challenge the established powers in the way we want to.

"So we're not going to make big pronouncements about what we're going to do, but hopefully we can just quietly tick along and keep improving."

Gloucester demolished the Sale scrum on Saturday, winning more than ten penalties and a penalty try from their all-conquering set-piece.

Hailing scrum coach Tony Windo's first-class work, Davies said Gloucester have three entire front-rows capable of causing Premiership mayhem.

While Nick Wood and Dan Murphy have been battling it out at loosehead prop for the most part, Yann Thomas has impressed in European and LV=Cup action.

Huia Edmonds and Darren Dawidiuk might be the frontline hookers, but Koree Britton and Tommaso D'Apice have both established themselves too.

And at tighthead Rupert Harden and Shaun Knight are locked in an intriguing selection battle, with Dario Chistolini resurgent in recent weeks too.

Impressed Davies said that serious strength in depth is allowing Gloucester to use their scrummage as a real match-winning weapon – something he admitted he never really had in his armoury at the Scarlets.

He continued: "At this moment in time we've not only got one front-row – we've got three.

"The guys who came on brought the same level of intensity and effort to that area.

"It's not something I'm used to having in a scrum, and it's challenging my philosophy on rugby!

"And it's great.

"Tony Windo is doing a great job individually with all these props, and their technique is improving week by week.

"And as a unit we've got real confidence and belief in what we can do now.

"It's fantastic to see that success.

"To be able to bring three fresh front-row forwards off the bench in the second half of matches is huge for us."

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  • Steve_Bronko  |  December 01 2012, 3:34PM

    Harden starts... You know it makes sense unless you are a self-congratulating, bigging-yourself-up, talentless-spotter who simply hasn't a clue about rugby but knows a thing or two about kite flying.

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  • StanFromGlaws  |  December 01 2012, 12:11PM

    Tindall start too. So much for peh45's (another of the troll's pseudonyms) predictions that he would be well down the pecking order.

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  • Brasher  |  December 01 2012, 10:51AM

    And look, Akapusi Qera (he who keeps on winning man of the match awards) is playing the open-side flanker position again. Why doesn't Nigel Davies, who is paid lots of money to be DoR, presumably because he has a great understanding of players and the game, take any notice of the amateur self-proclaimed selectors and risible talent spotters (no one is prepared a pay a penny to for their knowledge of the game, oddly enough) who pronounce with much feet stamping that Qera is a number 6 and not a number 7?

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  • Wilson640  |  December 01 2012, 7:53AM

    The fact that the troll akadau, aka glawsteruk1, aka Gordon_P, aka graybaggs, aka peh45, etc. continues to rubbish Harden while the Nigel Davies, the DoR/head coach, continues to select him as his first choice, is indicative of the complete lack of Gloucester/rugby knowledge of the troll.

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  • Deadeye_Glaws  |  November 30 2012, 11:07PM

    Rupert Harden... Gloucester Rugby's best and first choice tight-head prop and hate figure of the troll glawsteruk1/RuckandRoller/Gordon_P/akadau/peh45/graybaggs/GlosRugbyMan/etc.

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  • CurtDowne  |  November 30 2012, 10:49PM

    I am loving how people like this troll glawsteruk1 and the self-appointed experts/spotter and selectors think they know so much about Gloucester Rugby players yet the PROFESSIONAL rugby coaches keep selecting Rupert Harden and Mike Tindall to start and they keep putting Q in at open-side. These people need to face up to the fact that they are clueless.

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  • Drusus  |  November 30 2012, 9:22PM

    Enough of the dull old troll known as glawsteruk1.... Back on topic: I am so pleased to see that Rupert Harden, Gloucester Rugby's top choice and best tight head starting yet another game for the club.

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  • LucaTowers  |  November 30 2012, 8:40PM

    ....And he has the nerve to moan about other people's comments. What pathetic old man!

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  • Archie_Brew  |  November 30 2012, 7:57PM

    I think you will find that the sad, lonely, irrelevant troll glawsteruk1/akadau/RuckandRoller/graybaggs/peh45/Gordon_P is well into his sixties but has the mentality of a 12 year old. He has nothing else in his life but posting pointless comments like the one he posted at 5:17PM today.

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  • CrunchMan  |  November 30 2012, 7:35PM

    ...And just exactly how old are you, you big baby?

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