Gloucester Rugby: Nigel Davies happy to go back to basics
KEEP your cards close to your chest – that's Nigel Davies' call for the first quarter of Gloucester's Premiership opener against Northampton tomorrow.
Gloucester boss Davies expects a cagey start to the new campaign at Kingsholm (kick-off 3pm), and has told his Cherry and Whites not to try too much too soon.
Exhorting his pack to set solid foundations before the home men think about releasing the speed merchants, the former Llanelli boss said patience and pragmatism will be vital tomorrow.
Davies explained: "We've got to make sure that when we start the game we start pretty basic, get our forwards into the game and set a platform.
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"It's important that we put down a few markers in the game early on and then build from there, and make sure we don't show our hand too early.
"You have to wait for the right opportunities to strike, there's no need to force things early on. As long as we can keep the ball and build phases, we ought to create chances for ourselves."
Davies said he has spoken with fly-half Freddie Burns about the need to balance attacking impetus with shrewd territorial play.
Backing fit-again Burns to improve from last week's showing in the 54-9 pre-season Doncaster victory, Davies said he will form a smart partnership with new recruit Billy Twelvetrees.
Davies continued: "Freddie will definitely benefit from having that game under his belt last week, it's all about finding your feet in the team.
"I had a good chat with Freddie so that he understands his role in the team, and your nines and tens, they manage the game for you, and they manage the game to win games, and that's the key to it.
"And what that means and how those key decision-makers need to react, that's vital.
"I'd always tell players to have a go if it's on and they are in the right areas of the field.
"But it's probably balancing it out a bit more the other way where Freddie is concerned.
"Instinctively Freddie will have a go, but we've just got to balance that with being a bit more pragmatic.
"Billy's a very creative player himself, he's played in a very regimented structure so he's got a good balance about his game.
"That relationship will take time to develop and evolve, and when it does it could be pretty potent."