Gloucester Rugby: Nigel Davies demands to see some clinical finishing against Bath
CRIMINAL finishing could blight Gloucester's Premiership top-four chances, believes Nigel Davies.
The Gloucester boss has told his Cherry and Whites to start converting their line-breaks into tries – or fail in their league play-off bid.
Gloucester take on Bath at The Recreation Ground tonight (kick-off 8pm), desperate to avenge their 32-5 LV=Cup shaming at Kingsholm on February 2.
Davies' men can rack up the treble double: their third-straight league double over their bitter rivals.
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But the Gloucester rugby director has told his players to forget the bragging rights and start thinking more clearly and clinically when they break into Bath's 22.
Davies said: "We've got to be a lot more clinical. Against Worcester last week we created six or seven line-breaks, but we didn't finish any of them off.
"And that's criminal really, top teams like New Zealand, they finish off 60 per cent of their line-breaks, and we have to aspire to be far more clinical.
"It's some of the decision-making once we do get behind teams.
"And when we train, we train to attack in front of the defensive line, but also when we get behind that line and we take advantage of that.
"A couple of times, when the contact has been made, we are not making the right decision at that breakdown, to take advantage of where the space is.
"So there's some clear areas where we need to improve on that front, and we've got to take the next step forward."
Former Wales centre Davies said Gloucester appreciate the enormity of tonight's derby, as much for the chance to stay in the top-four hunt as to claim ascendancy over their rivals.
Gloucester sit fourth with 45 points, with Bath down in seventh with 38, but the Premiership switches around week on week, and Davies said it is imperative the Cherry and Whites maintain pressure on the upper reaches of the table.
Gloucester now boast ten points in three weeks, after victories over Northampton and Worcester and claiming two bonus points in defeat to Wasps.
Davies said he had targeted 12 points from this four-match sequence but would gladly take the 14 that victory tomorrow would bring.
He said: "It's a massive game for both sides, in terms of the context and position and the league position, and also the local rivalry.
"And on the back of the last performance too, so there's a lot to play for.
"It's a compact stadium: we'll have two sets of passionate supporters on top of the players really, urging both sides on.
"So I think we can expect a very intense, intimidating atmosphere, and I'm sure our own supporters will add their own flavour to it.
"And both sides realise how important this fixture is, for a number of reasons.
"Twelve points across these four games would probably indicate three wins. It's a good opportunity for us.
"The pressure's all on them in some regards, playing at home.
"We go there with a clear mind, a clear view of how we need to play, of how we need to make some statements, and we'll look forward to the battle."
Calling on Gloucester to hit back to top form after their struggles in their last-gasp 29-23 victory over Worcester victory last week, Davies said: "It's funny, if we'd lost that game it could have been a completely different perspective.
"We were dominant but didn't take our chances.
"There's a lot left in this team – now it's time to show it."