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'We will look back on this victory ahead of our play-off charge'

By The Citizen  |  Posted: December 24, 2012

CHARGE: Sione Kalamafoni on the run during Saturday's victory against Exeter Chiefs

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PREPARING for the 2013 Premiership play-offs, Sione Kalamafoni lets his mind wander back to Christmas victory over Exeter Chiefs.

The bruising Tongan flanker casts back, and points to that 18-16 result as the moment where Gloucester set themselves on course for a top-four finish.

That's just a premonition at the moment, of course, just ambitious Kalamafoni's prediction for the business end of the season.

But he has challenged his Cherry and Whites team-mates to make it their New Year's resolution, and realise that dream.

The marauding loose-forward believes Saturday's 18-16 triumph over resolute Exeter must prove a turning-point in the Cherry and Whites' campaign.

The 24-year-old hopes the slender win can prove a defining moment of a seriously successful season for Nigel Davies' men.

But he admitted the hard work is only just starting in order to make that happen.

Kalamafoni explained: "We want to be able to look back and say this was not just a game and a result that edged us in front of several rivals in the table.

"We want to be able to look back and know that this was a game and a result that built the team together, and shaped the character of the team.

"Hopefully we'll be able to look back on this later in the season, and point to this result as a point where things really took off.

"We want to be in with a shout for silverware at the end of the season, looking back on this victory as a crucial result.

"The belief and the spirit are great at the club right now, and it's enjoyable to be in this team and squad, among these players.

"The character of this club is fantastic at the moment – but the massive challenge is to take that forward and continue it now, and make it last."

Backing the squad to continue to foster that strong spirit, he said the resilience shown to grind to victory against Exeter only underlines Gloucester's steady progress.

He continued: "We weren't able to play a pretty game, but we dug in as a team and came up with the result, and that's very, very pleasing.

"The team spirit is great, and I think that will continue to improve from now on.

"The boys will play for each other, and every man will go the extra mile for the man to his left or right.

"We really dug in even though we were behind, but we kept ourselves in the match and forced through."

The Gloucester squad have been given Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, but will quickly be back in training on Thursday – preparing for the small matter of taking on Leicester Tigers at Welford Road.

Kalamafoni turned out for Leicester's A team while at Nottingham, as the Tigers tracked his progress closely.

Relishing his first season at Gloucester and in the Premiership, he admitted he is looking forward to his first trip to Welford Road on Saturday (kick-off 5pm).

He added: "We'll relax for Christmas and Boxing Day, and we have to enjoy that.

"But of course we're looking forward to the Leicester game.

"These are the kinds of games where you to have to switch on individually and as a team.

"Unless we are spot-on with everything we do, then we will struggle.

"But we'll go there with confidence and knowing we'll have a chance if we play the way we know we can.

"It will be my first time playing over there as well so it will be a huge challenge."

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  • Karbonn  |  December 27 2012, 10:07AM

    Nine out of 11 Premiership starts proves that Harden is the top rated tight head at Gloucester Rugby.

    |   6
  • BillBM  |  December 27 2012, 10:02AM

    Rupert Harden = Gloucester Rugby's best and first choice tight head, bar none.

    |   7
  • CrunchMan  |  December 27 2012, 9:42AM

    Yep! Rupert is our number 1 and first choice tight head. He needs to be starting against Tigers to give us a chance of winning at Welford Road.

    |   6
  • s_sorca  |  December 24 2012, 6:16PM

    Nine starts so far this season in the Premiership tells me that Rupert Harden is our top rated and first choice tight head at Gloucester Rugby.

    |   5
  • werew  |  December 24 2012, 5:45PM

    Yep! The way Harden turned that game around when he came on against Irish was magnificent. From a losing position, away from home, it takes a unique character and huge talent to come on and achieve that.

    |   6
  • jasonbennett3  |  December 24 2012, 5:24PM

    If fit Harden must start. But you just know he will do a job if he has to come into the game from the bench. Just as he did at the Madejski against Irish. That showed the true class of the man.

    |   5
  • SidGlawsder  |  December 24 2012, 4:55PM

    Rupert Harden, Gloucester's top rated and officially recognised first choice tight head, must start against Tigers if he is fully fit. At least have him on the bench so that he can come on and rescue the situation like he did away to London Irish.

    |   6
  • Archie_Brew  |  December 24 2012, 4:47PM

    Nine out of 11 starts in the Premiership is endorsement enough from Nigel Davies, the DoR and professional/expert head coach at Gloucester Rugby, that Rupert Harden is indeed the first choice and best tight head at Gloucester Rugby, bar none!

    |   5
  • Karbonn  |  December 24 2012, 2:39PM

    I seriously hope that Harden, our best tight head, is back for the Tigers' game and that we don't go into it with another underpowered scrum.

    |   7
  • Wilson640  |  December 24 2012, 2:26PM

    Rupert Harden is our best and top rated tight head. There is no doubt about that.

    |   6