Gloucester Rugby: Big Jim savours Irish redemption
HONOURED Jim Hamilton believes he is leading a group of players with the never-say-die attitude that can bring success to Kingsholm.
New club captain Hamilton admitted skippering Gloucester to victory at London Irish on Saturday proved a personal redemption.
Four months ago stand-in captain Hamilton was sent off at the Madejski Stadium for brawling with David Paice.
At the weekend he said the hairs stood up on the back of his neck when Gloucester's bloodied but unbowed horde hurtled into skirmish after skirmish, rebuffing the Irish raiders.
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The Cherry and Whites triumphed 40-31, and after the heat of battle Hamilton said it was a relief to end his first outing as club captain with a victory.
The 29-year-old lock missed Gloucester's opening-day Northampton defeat with an ankle injury.
So his first game of the new season was the scene of that red card, and a humiliating 52-18 defeat.
And now he is confident Gloucester's bullocking pack can help the Cherry and Whites double their win-tally at the first opportunity, at Worcester on Saturday (kick-off 1.30pm).
He explained: "It goes without saying how much we needed to get that win under our belts.
"And to get it at London Irish, where it's been notoriously tough for us in the past, it's huge in my eyes.
"There's still a lot for us to work on, but the win's all that matters at this stage.
"Deep down there's a small bit of relief because everyone's desperate to win, but there's got to be a lot of pride to be taken from that.
"Some of the performances out there were outstanding, and you saw with injuries picked up and blood that was spilt out there, guys are putting their bodies on the line and that's the level it takes to win games.
"I find it quite inspiring to captain a team that's willing to do that, and I spoke to the guys at the beginning of the season about that's what would be needed every time we put on that jersey.
"That's the way we need to play. It's difficult but you also get your rewards from that and I think we saw that on Saturday.
"There were times out there when I had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up seeing that, and it's given me energy to work hard and other guys energy to work harder.
"If we're going to move forward properly as a club we're going to need that type of player, and I think we've got them.
"There was an element of needing to come here and get the job done the right way, for me personally.
"My whole build-up was to the Northampton game, that didn't quite happen for me and then my next focus was London Irish.
"I'll be honest that wasn't even in the back of my mind in the preparation.
"My sole focus was to work hard and make sure we got the win, so I wasn't in a position to think about anything else really.
"But in hindsight it's good it's turned out the way it has, it has worked out well in that respect.
"Against Saints it was fantastic the way we scrummaged and fronted up, and I think we just need to take a bit of confidence from these two matches.
"We're just going to go about our work quietly and keep plugging away, and fight to build every week."
Expecting a stern test at Sixways against the Warriors this weekend, Hamilton said more relentless confrontation is the only route to victory.
Hailing impressive Tom Savage's early-season form, Hamilton continued: "Worcester will be a huge challenge for us, especially up front, they've got a great set-piece.
"That's a huge local derby for us, and a big challenge.
"We didn't win there last year and they are a very difficult team.
"And we'll go to Worcester with huge belief now, but knowing that it will take a massive performance to get a result.
"I don't want to put too much pressure on Tom, but I'm a great fan of his: the way he trains and how hard he's worked to get where he is.
"I'm good friends with him, and watch this space, because he is a very good player.
"He's got all the attributes a second row or six needs, and he's a hell of a player.
"If you look at Tom and look at who was on the bench on Saturday, and the guys who had been left out, he's gone straight seamlessly from the second row to the back row and put in a shift the way he did.
"He embodies what Gloucester is too."