Gloucester Rugby: Akapusi Qera breaks silence for rallying call after Bath defeat
QUIET man Akapusi Qera is Gloucester's silent assassin no more.
The brutal Fijian flanker is as renowned for his devastating tackles as his unassuming manner.
But the 28-year-old has broken his personal protocol – to force his team-mates past Saturday's 32-5 West Country derby drubbing.
Australian hooker Huia Edmonds admitted the entire Kingsholm squad was surprised when Qera stood up to speak after Monday's analysis session.
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"We went through the game as a squad," explained the former ACT Brumbies front-rower.
"After Nigel spoke, Q stood up said 'that's forgotten now, forget about it, don't dwell on it, let's move on to the next one, and really start to focus on Saturday's Northampton game'.
"For him to come out and just say anything is pretty massive, so for him to come out in front of the whole team and say that, that's a big thing.
"He doesn't really say much.
"So that's pretty big from him.
"We've just got to focus on Northampton, on our strengths and what we have to build on for this game."
Gloucester leaked five tries in their heaviest professional-era Kingsholm defeat to Bath in the LV=Cup on Saturday.
Despite suffering their biggest home defeat for more than three years – and against their fierce rivals to boot – Edmonds believes Gloucester can still strike back straight away at Northampton.
The Cherry and Whites take on the Saints at Franklin's Gardens (kick-off 12.30pm) in the first of four pivotal Premiership matches.
And Edmonds knows only victory is enough to further Gloucester's play-off aims.
The 31-year-old continued: "Q's a senior player, just knowing him from this year, he doesn't say much.
"So for him to stand up and say that, it gave everyone a jolt – that we do need to pull our finger out and focus on this game.
"We've got to give everything for this game – it could make or break us.
"This is our grand final this weekend.
"It's easy to dwell on things, especially after a game like that against our big rivals."
Gloucester slipped up 26-7 at Northampton just two weeks ago, in the LV=Cup.
The Saints struggled in a 28-19 defeat at Exeter at the weekend though, and Edmonds sees two teams squaring up suffering similar problems.
He added: "I think Northampton are in a similar position to us really, after their defeat last weekend as well.
"They will be desperate to get back into winning ways, and so both sides are battling for form in this game.
"But we're in very enthusiastic mood.
"We've got points to prove, but to be honest we're always enthusiastic.
"Our coaches are massively passionate, everyone loves it, the same as the supporters, and that definitely rubs off."