Gloucester Rugby: Nigel Davies challenges Gloucester Rugby to 'turn it around' against Northampton Saints
'TURN it around' in the next couple of weeks and Gloucester can still fight for the successful season they had planned, believes boss Nigel Davies.
Rugby director Davies feels that the Cherry and Whites must remain unfazed by Sunday's horror-show 44-12 defeat to Saracens at Allianz Park.
The North London men ran in five tries in their biggest win at their new home.
But it was Nick Wood's red card for stamping on flanker Jacques Burger's head in the second minute that robbed Gloucester of any realistic competition against the Fezheads.
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This is the first time Gloucester have lost their opening two matches of the league season since 2000/01.
But to add important context, this two-game slump pales into insignificance compared to the six-game losing streak in 2009/10. Gloucester saw off Bath in the season-opener that year, only to suffer a prolonged winless run and leave Bryan Redpath in a precarious position.
The former Scotland scrum-half overturned those difficulties in fine style.
And Kingsholm helmsman Davies remains confident his Gloucester group can do exactly the same.
Davies is not shirking the pressure, though – he knows that only a win against Northampton at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 3.15pm) will now be good enough to kick-start his misfiring side.
He explained: "We're not running away from anything, we're fronting up to what's in front of us, and we're going to deal with it.
"We realise that as long as we can turn it around in the next couple of weeks, it's going to be fine. And that's what we'll focus on doing."
This weekend, Dan Murphy will be expected to start at loosehead prop, with Yann Thomas potentially covering the number one berth from the bench.
Thomas has been deputising at tighthead, with Rupert Harden given the nod for the start of the new campaign.
Gloucester will hope, too, that tighthead Shaun Knight has fully recovered from his knee niggles, after featuring in last night's A League clash against Sale Jets at Heywood Road.
That would potentially allow Thomas to switch back and cover loosehead.
Beyond that, Davies could recall Tom Heard from his Cinderford loan to fill that second tighthead berth, if he does want to employ Thomas at loose.
Senior academy loosehead James Gibbons has proved himself a solid operator in pre-season cameos for the first team, so Davies could also give him a chance.