Gloucester Rugby: Davies wary of the Bath booby traps
SCAVENGING Bath will try to ensnare Gloucester in well-laid traps at Kingsholm – and the Cherry and Whites must not fall prey, warns Nigel Davies.
The Gloucester boss has called on his men to steer clear of robust Bath's smartly-constructed ruses in this afternoon's West Country derby.
The Cherry and Whites entertain bitter rivals Bath (kick-off 2.15pm), seeking a fifth-straight derby victory and a fifth league game without defeat this term.
Rugby director Davies has called on his side to be very wary of the rigid approach employed by the Blue, Black and Whites under new coach Gary Gold.
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The South African masterminded a 29-20 April victory for former club Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm last term, and has carried his aggressive, regimented style south with him this year.
Kingsholm chief Davies believes his side negotiated London Welsh's savvy snares in last weekend's 31-25 victory at Oxford's Kassam Stadium – and now he is demanding a repeat.
Davies explained: "Bath will offer something entirely different again, and so we will adapt accordingly again, as we have done for every game so far.
"There will come a stage in our development where there will be fewer changes to what we do, because we'll be more comfortable with our game.
"But at this moment in time it's vital that we focus on some key areas in our game, look to get those right, and build from there.
"That's certainly helped us away from home so far.
"Everyone tells me it's unusual for Gloucester to be in that position away from home after the last few years, and we're proud of that.
"But now we want to transfer that home too.
"We were very measured in the London Welsh game, and rightly so, because the two teams they had beaten before they played us, they fell into the trap Welsh set for them.
"And similarly Bath will lay a trap for us too, in terms of their kicking game. They want to play in the right areas of the field, and maybe snare us that way.
"So we've got to be very mindful of that, and very clever in how we box – but we do want to play rugby as well.
"It's a home fixture for us, we want to bring tempo and energy to the game as well at times, and we want to get that balance in our game."
One-time Gloucester playmaker and long-term Bath stalwart Olly Barkley has flown the nest for a last hurrah with Racing Metro in France's Top 14.
But Bath still boast World Cup-winner Stephen Donald, who can pull the same kicking strings if afforded the opportunity.
Former Llanelli Scarlets boss Davies wants his side to play more expansively this week because they are at home – but also wants his charges to guard against gifting the visitors easy points through cheap penalties.
He continued: "It's a percentage game for them, and it's worked out for them so far.
"So we have to be very mindful of that and not fall into their traps.
"A lot of their points come from penalties because of that, and we've got to ensure we don't give them those chances to rack up points.
"We've just got to be measured in when we take those opportunities, which I thought we were against Welsh.
"You could maybe argue there were more opportunities for us to exploit, but the flip side to that is, look at Exeter, who are a very structured team, after scoring two tries against Welsh they almost fell into the trap of trying to go away from that structure, and they ended up losing the game.
"So we just have to be very mindful of how we go about our business.
"Every game's a different challenge, and we've got a gameplan that allows us to accommodate those different challenges pretty easily.
"It's very important for us to keep the momentum going, this group of players play with a lot of confidence and belief at the moment, and we want to build on that."