Gloucester Rugby: Hamilton - We have set sights on Euro glory
WE'RE in it to win it – that's the message from skipper Jim Hamilton as Gloucester set their sights on Amlin Challenge Cup glory.
Ambitious Gloucester do not shy away from craving Heineken Cup success – but captain Hamilton said the Cherry and Whites are not about to turn their noses up at second-tier European action.
So rather than waste time wishing for Heineken Cup action this term, lock Hamilton said the Kingsholm men will instead chase success right now, and wherever possible.
The 29-year-old admitted Gloucester's squad are desperate to land a big trophy.
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The Cherry and Whites are well aware of the arduous, long-term slog tied into that aim.
But Hamilton hopes 2011's LV=Cup victory can still prove something of a catalyst – and the first in a line of trophies to come.
Hamilton explained: "Obviously we'd much rather be in the Heineken Cup, no one's going to hide from that – but no one's really thought about that this season either.
"We'd dealt with that previously, and now the aim has just been on being as successful as we can in the competitions we're in this season.
"So we're in the Amlin to win it, there's no doubt about that.
"There are some great teams in the tournament and it's a massive challenge to gain success in Europe, whatever the level of competition.
"But there's certainly desire throughout the squad for success, and success in this tournament too.
"One thing I want is that every time we put a Gloucester shirt on we go out there with spirit, heart and the determination to win the game.
"That's what the players did out at in France last week, and that's what we'll do again this time round against Bordeaux (Thursday, 7.45pm).
"Our total focus is on the Amlin right now. We'll go all-out for another victory, and reassess where we are afterwards.
"We do want a big trophy, that's what we're here for.
"I don't want to be in a team that's ambition is mid-table.
"We've got short careers and I want to be a winner, I want to win trophies and build memories.
"And at Gloucester I certainly feel I'm in a team where we can certainly do that going forward. We're not going to hide away from that.
"The players are at the forefront of that, and we must keep building.
"It's a big ask, and it's a long season, but we have the potential, and now the challenge is to take that forward."
One man craving Gloucester silverware more than most is stalwart wing James Simpson-Daniel.
The popular flyer's recent admission he is no longer chasing England honours surprised and saddened many at Kingsholm.
Hamilton said while Gloucester will benefit, he believes chronic underuse has lost England the services of the best player he has ever lined up alongside.
Hamilton added: "Everyone will tell you, and I could talk about it all day, but Sinbad is the best player I've ever played with.
"He's the most naturally gifted, down-to-earth guy, and he's got everything.
"For whatever reason, he's been overlooked for an awfully long time.
"But sometimes that just happens, as frustrating as it is, and there's only so much that one person can do.
"You do your bit and then forget about the rest, and if that's where Sinbad is now, then good for him.
"Sinbad is Gloucester through and through, he wants success with Gloucester, that's his key focus and fair play.
"He's obviously perfectly good enough to excel at international level, but if the call did come and he did say no, that would be a decision we would all respect, of course.
"If he chose to do that, then that would be his call.
"It would be Gloucester's gain ultimately, but I still think it would be a shame."