Dave Lewis: Gloucester Rugby need to build upon Amlin victory
SNAPSHOTS of top-class rugby in Mont de Marsan must be the catalyst for Gloucester to hit their full heights, believes Dave Lewis.
The encouraged Cherry and Whites scrum-half reckons the Kingsholm men's solidity and ball-carrying ferocity in France rivals any of their form so far this term.
Gloucester edged home 11-6 at Stade Guy Boniface in Thursday night's Amlin Challenge Cup opener.
Not even Andy Hazell's red card and a yellow for Matt Cox could derail Nigel Davies' side's victory grind.
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Now 23-year-old half-back Lewis is keen to see the Cherry and Whites harness the best of that slender win – and carry it into a testing fixture run ahead.
Gloucester host Bordeaux at Kingsholm on Thursday night (kick-off 7.45pm), before returning to league action with back-to-back clashes against last year's Premiership finalists.
Leicester Tigers pitch up at Kingsholm on October 27, before the Cherry and Whites travel to Harlequins on November 3 – and Lewis knows full well Gloucester need their best form in the coming weeks.
He explained: "If anything, despite not taking some of the chances on offer in the first half, that was probably some of the best rugby we've played so far this season.
"And now the challenge is to keep that going.
"It might not have been a classic at Mont de Marsan, but it never can be in weather like that.
"It was everything you'd expect from an away match in France, but we dug in well and the main thing was making sure we came out with the result.
"When we woke up on Thursday the weather was quite nice, but then there were several heavy downpours and that obviously altered our approach.
"We didn't give them much to go on in the first half, and Nigel and the other coaches were fairly happy with that.
"We made sure we stayed in their half, and that was pretty solid overall.
"Even when we went down to 13 in the second half we were still the better team and we stayed reasonably solid.
"This win can be very valuable moving forward, but it's what we do with that now, heading into the clash with Bordeaux and beyond – that counts the most.
"We're back at Kingsholm and that always means a lot to us, it's always important to stress that.
"We can be encouraged by aspects of our performance in France, and we've got to transfer that into what comes next."
London Irish blasted six tries past Bordeaux in France in a thumping 43-16 victory, so Gloucester are preparing for a backlash at Kingsholm this week.
After missing out on Gloucester's West Country derby victory over Bath because of All Black Jimmy Cowan's arrival, Lewis made his first start of the season on Thursday night.
Eager for more of the same, the former Hartpury College man is relishing the selection battle between himself, Dan Robson and World Cup winner Cowan.
He added: "It was great to get a start, my first of the season, and I'm reasonably pleased with how it all went.
"The main thing in the wet is to make sure you give the right kind of sympathy on passes, taking slightly more time, and allowing team mates the best chance of latching onto the greasy ball.
"Now I've had that start obviously I'm very keen for more of the same, but it's going to be a battle between all of us for a good while yet."