Gloucester Rugby: Hamilton - we want to deliver for supporters
CAPTAIN Jim Hamilton has told Gloucester they still have to repay the Cherry and Whites supporters for the London Irish defeat.
The totemic lock admitted Gloucester have yet to atone for the 18-12 Premiership Kingsholm reverse on January 5.
And the 30-year-old said Saturday's home Amlin Challenge Cup clash with Mont de Marsan (kick-off 3pm) is the ideal opportunity.
Despite Gloucester's edgy 31-26 victory in Bordeaux on Friday, Hamilton said Nigel Davies' side still have plenty of work to do to appease the frustrated fans after that costly Irish defeat.
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Gloucester are assured a second-tier European quarter-final spot after their Bordeaux victory.
But a handsome win this weekend will nail down a Kingsholm tie for the next round.
Hamilton said the twin motivation of a home draw and a reconciliation job with the fans should be more than enough ammunition for the Cherry and Whites.
He said: "We let the supporters down against London Irish, and so this weekend the Mont de Marsan game is about them, about putting it right for them.
"We spoke about that before the Bordeaux game, and now we need to go and get another win too.
"It was a blow to our league situation to lose against Irish, but more than that, the performance was poor – the supporters expect better, and we expect to deliver that as well.
"We've got an opportunity now to line up a home quarter-final, and that's what we've got to do.
"I would have liked us to have played better, but Bordeaux showed up pretty well.
"It's always tough in France, regardless of the team.
"We're satisfied with the result, and we're pleased to do that as a start for the supporters, but we definitely know we can play a lot better.
"The Bordeaux win shows that we're a never-say-die team, and last week we did die.
"The scoreboard wasn't on our side, there were parts of that game not on our side, but to keep that composure is great going forward.
"Hopefully when the ground firms up we'll play faster rugby and exploit our pace, but for the time being we've got to keep doing this.
"This is a young team, there's a lot more to come from this group, and we've got to get to the point where we realise that, and then deliver it.
"Nigel's brought in huge amounts of confidence, and now we've got to move things forward if we can.
"We've got the game to do it and we've got the coaching, the players and the ability.
"So if we can polish everything up, we'll be in a far better situation."
Hamilton will leave the club in the summer for France, so will only experience one season as Kingsholm captain.
Despite that role being more short-lived than he had initially expected, the Scotland lock said he will always be honoured by the responsibility.
Reflecting on last week's funeral of legendary Gloucester captain Mike Nicholls, Hamilton hailed the continued influence and impact of the indomitable hooker.
Humbled by the Gloucester Cathedral service, Hamilton said it brought home the full magnitude of representing the Cherry and Whites.
Hamilton continued: "I found it very inspiring that a guy that captained the club all that time ago can still command that kind of turnout.
"The respect in which Mike Nicholls is held is immense.
"It's clear he was a fantastic captain, from the amount and the calibre of people who were there, but also from the words that were spoken about him.
"It was a great source of inspiration.
"No one can ever take away from you the fact that you have captained this club.
"When I look at the achievements and the esteem of a man like Mike Nicholls, it is massively humbling to follow in his stead.
"I'm not about to make any kind of comparison, but I'm very proud to captain Gloucester and even more so all the time the more you find out about people like Mike.
"Being captain drives me on to want to be successful for the club, my team-mates, and for the city too.
"Mike is held at the very top of the list of Gloucester captains, and rightly so.
"But it would be great to lead this side to silverware, and some kind of recognition.
"When you're playing week on week everything happens so quickly.
"And sometimes it's hard to take stock.
"But it was great to be able to reflect on things, on how special it is, not many people have this opportunity, and that as much as anything else is why we have to deliver."