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We have to stop thinking about a Kingsholm Amlin quarter-final - Burns

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 14, 2013

SPOT ON: Freddie Burns proved to be Gloucester's match winner in Bordeaux, kicking 26 points in the Cherry and Whites' 31-26 victory.

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THE only way to secure a Kingsholm quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup is to stop thinking about it, believes Freddie Burns.

Gloucester can set up a home draw in the last eight if they produce a handsome win against Mont de Marsan at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).

The Cherry and Whites secured safe passage to the European second-tier cup's knockout stages with Friday's 31-26 victory in Bordeaux.

But now they have a chance to stack the deck for the next round, by securing home advantage.

The five Amlin Challenge Cup pool winners qualify for the quarter-finals – where they will be joined by three teams that drop down from the Heineken Cup.

After next week's pool fixtures are complete, the five Amlin pool winners will be ranked in order of their overall performance – on everything from win record to tries and points scored.

The top four ranked teams then claim home matches in the quarter-finals.

Win in style this weekend then, and Gloucester will be among them – but fly-half Burns said any thoughts on the mathematic equations will distract from the main Mont de Marsan event.

Burns explained: "We can't start looking ahead of ourselves.

"They're a tough team to beat and I'm sure Mont de Marsan will be keen to put one over on us for pride as much as anything else.

"Yes we're into the quarter-finals, but at the same time we've got a big game on Saturday that will determine whether we play at Kingsholm in the next round or not.

"If we start thinking about racking up tries and things like that, we'll come unstuck.

"We desperately want to win, win well and set up that home quarter-final, but if we start concentrating on that rather than what we need to do in the game, then we'll be in trouble.

"We've got to get our heads down and battle hard to win the game.

"We can't start dreaming of try bonus points or anything like that.

"If that comes, great, but first things first and we won't be getting carried away."

Burns' faultless goal-kicking display of eight penalties and one conversion carried Gloucester to victory at Stade Andre Moga on Friday night in a tense and scrappy contest.

The hosts outscored Gloucester two to one on the try front, and in times past that would have cost Gloucester victory.

But as Burns hones his accuracy off the tee, so Gloucester's resolve builds.

And he said rock-solid goal-kicking is helping him stay confident should other areas not always go according to plan.

The 22-year-old continued: "It's great to get the win, it certainly helps after losing to London Irish the week before.

"It was quite slippery underfoot, but you can't let it affect you on the kicking front.

"You've just got to keep your technique and if your foot slips and you miss one, you've just got to let it go, don't change anything, and get on with it.

"Fortunately for me there was none of that on Friday.

"To kick the goals and get the win, that was key, but there's certainly a few elements to work on personally, and as a group.

"We've got to look at our defence because it was loose.

"With players coming back from injury it was always going to be patchy, but hopefully we can move it forward now.

"I was pleased with my goal-kicking but there's other parts to work on and that's what we'll be getting stuck into this week in training."

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  • RubenHall  |  January 14 2013, 7:45PM

    Rupert Harden... Most starts at tight head.... Most starts of any front row player. That proves he is the top rated tight head at Gloucester.

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  • haztooms  |  January 14 2013, 7:34PM

    Every Gloucester Rugby supporter knows that Gloucester's scrum is never the same without Rupert Harden anchoring it. Nigel Davies knows that which is why he (and not the clueless multi-identitied troll Kap721/akadau/glawsteruk1/peh45/etc.) selects Harden to start in the tough, critical games.

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  • Newilldon  |  January 14 2013, 7:30PM

    Harden will be greatly missed if he is not available for the weekend. We need to go into that game with our best and most powerful scrummager. Without Harden, the scrum will be underpowered yet again.

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  • sam_silent  |  January 14 2013, 7:28PM

    Harden is a superb tight-head and was having a marvellous season up until his injury. When he is absent, his power is so desperately missed in the scrum, as has been so patently demonstrated over recent weeks.

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  • CrunchMan  |  January 14 2013, 7:22PM

    Rupert Harden is the number 1 and the best tight head at Gloucester Rugby. That is why Nigel Davies selects him for the crucial games and why ND would have selected him to start against Tigers, Irish and Bordeaux if he had been fit.

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  • Don_Deakin  |  January 14 2013, 7:17PM

    Please, please, please can we have Harden back for the last Amlin cup pool game. I don't want another embarrassment such as we had at Welford Road in the scrum and in that final Sarries' scrum. Those things never have happen when Rupert Harden is available.

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  • freshhglaws  |  January 14 2013, 7:11PM

    Does anyone have nightmares about that last scrum of the Sarries game...? Well forget that because we had even horror-show at Welford Road with our front row on one side being made to stand up time after time and from the very first scrum. Don't let a Gloucester scrum be embarrassed like that ever again. Get Harden on the pitch as often and for as long as possible.

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  • Dave_Baldwin  |  January 14 2013, 7:06PM

    Let's face facts, when it mattered in winnable games, Saracens and Leicester Tigers both dominated our front row and Gloucester lost the game. It is obvious to all Gloucester Rugby supporters that that wouldn't have happened if Harden had been on the field.

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  • StanFromGlaws  |  January 14 2013, 7:02PM

    We have to have Rupert Harden our best and first choice tight head back starting for us next weekend. Otherwise, before you know it, we will be slipping behind in the game because we have no scrum platform off of which to build attacks.

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  • Wilson640  |  January 14 2013, 6:59PM

    The fact is, Rupert Harden is our best and classiest tight head and he has come out top in every game he has played in this season. Rupert Harden has never has to spend ten minutes in a sin bin because he is not able to prop. Harden is sheer class.

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