Gloucester Rugby can claim the title says old boss Philippe Saint-Andre
GLOUCESTER have the power to lift the Premiership title the club and their supporters so deserve – this season, believes Philippe Saint-Andre.
Ex-Cherry and Whites boss Saint-Andre has backed the Kingsholm outfit to delight their supporters and land that elusive Premiership crown, as soon as this summer.
Hailing the impact of new rugby director Nigel Davies, France's head coach admitted he always keeps a keen eye on events at Kingsholm.
The 45-year-old France legend was Gloucester boss between 1998 and 2002, and still feels both club and fan frustrations at the string of league title near-misses.
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But now he feels Gloucester are well-placed to change that ill fortune.
He explained: "I definitely think they can do it.
"They are in a good position for this stage of the season.
"They are where they need to be, and what comes next is exciting.
"I hear that the new coaching set-up is very strong, the players are coming together well, and it's a club with strong ownership.
"I would love to see Gloucester win the title that the club and their fans deserve.
"I still follow their results, and I am in touch with Martine Walkinshaw (Tom Walkinshaw's wife).
"Kingsholm is a special place with an incredible atmosphere, and the supporters are the backbone of the club."
Nicknamed Le Goret – the piglet – because of his running style, the likeable Gallic coach has also tipped ex-Gloucester hooker Olivier Azam for a return to Kingsholm in the future.
Impressed with Davies' coaching set-up, Saint-Andre expects the current management team to stay in place for some time to come.
But when the time is right Saint-Andre thinks Azam would jump at the chance to coach the side he served with distinction as a bullish front-rower.
Saint-Andre continued: "I think Olivier Azam is half-English these days!
"He certainly has a new Gloucester element to his accent.
"I took him to Toulon with me, and I think he has the abilities to become a top-class forwards coach and he is already very accomplished.
"I'm sure he would do a fantastic job at Gloucester if the job ever arose for him.
"As I said, the current coaching staff are doing an excellent job and I think they will be in place for some years.
"But I could imagine Olivier being keen to coach at Gloucester some time in the future, and if the circumstances were right, I think the club would feel the same."