Gloucester Rugby: Tony will give us a Windo on Worcester
SCRUM mastermind Tony Windo can inspire Gloucester's success story of the season so far to another victory at Worcester, believes Nigel Davies.
Hailing the Cherry and Whites' front-row as the real triumph of the new campaign, rugby director Davies backed scrum coach Windo to help plot a win against his former club this weekend.
Windo racked up more than 200 games for hometown club Gloucester and then Worcester, before moving into a coaching stint with the Warriors.
Now installed at Kingsholm as scrum coach, to add to his role as rugby director at Bromsgrove School, he will make a first Sixways return on Saturday for the keenly-anticipated Premiership local derby (kick-off 1.30pm).
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Gloucester's powerful scrummage has been a feature of both their league clashes so far this term, helping lay the platform for Saturday's 40-31 London Irish victory.
Davies believes his six match-day front-rowers are all interchangeable – and that means come the hour-mark, a fresh set of coal-face battlers can climb off the bench and help change the contest once again.
The Gloucester boss explained: "We know it's going to be a real dogfight there.
"I can assure everyone that we'll hang on in there and stay in that fight.
"Tony obviously knows quite a bit about Worcester, but he's been a huge signing for us, a massive asset.
"Our scrum has been going particularly well so far this year, it's been a massive part of what we've been able to achieve and it will continue to play a central role.
"I think the scrum will play a big part in this weekend's game too.
"The work that he has done there with our pack has been fantastic."
Always teak-tough in the pack, Worcester's scrummage has long since been a compact and robust unit.
Evergreen scrum-technician and hooker Aleki Lutui has been the scourge of Premiership opponents for some years now, and young English talent Matt Mullan has quickly become an adept top-flight prop too.
But Davies believes Gloucester have the potency to wrestle the upper hand at Sixways this weekend.
He continued: "I think our front-row has been a real success story so far.
"These boys work extremely hard in the front-row, you're not only asking them to scrum particularly hard, and work in the lineouts and the drives, but we're also asking them to run around the field, carry ball and make big hits as well.
"So they work harder than anybody.
"So to have almost a complete new set of front-rowers coming on, off the bench, who are equally as good as the guys coming off, that's very important.
"I've spoken already about the importance of having a strong 23, and it was proved again at the weekend.
"It's very much a case of the two basically being interchangeable, so as much as everyone wants to start and quite right too, we have been telling them that making the 23 is just as big an achievement as starting the match.
"Most games are decided around the 60th to the 70th minute, and that's when the replacements can come on and impact the game.
"So the substitutes have made a huge difference to us and they will continue to do so.
"We'll look to carry forward our strong scrummaging mindset, and we'll look to get the forwards into the game around the park again too."
â Charlie Sharples was scheduled to have a scan to ascertain the damage to his shoulder today.
The Gloucester wing is rated as unlikely to be fit for Saturday's Worcester clash, though is not yet ruled out of action.
The Cherry and Whites medical staff believe he has not suffered any long-term damage to his shoulder though.
Fly-half Freddie Burns meanwhile has every chance of being fit for Saturday, after his ankle trouble was judged bruising to the bone rather than ligament trouble.