Will James warns of a French backlash in the Amlin Cup
WINLESS Mont de Marsan will be desperate to kick-start their stuttering season against Gloucester tomorrow night, warns Will James.
The 35-year-old Gloucester lock has called on the Cherry and Whites to beware the home side's backlash from eight-straight French Top 14 league defeats.
The newly-promoted outfit boast former Scotland lock Scott Murray and the ex-Leicester Tigers Fijian brute Seru Rabeni.
But so far the Stade Montois men have failed to register a victory in the French top flight.
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Expecting a fierce battle at the Stade Guy Boniface tomorrow (kick-off 7.30pm UK time), James said Gloucester must be at their best to open their European Challenge Cup account with victory.
Gloucester might crave Heineken Cup involvement, but James said they will not turn up their noses at second-tier European action.
He explained: "It'll be a tough night: they've got a big pack of forwards.
"They haven't won a game yet this season, but they have been hugely competitive in every clash.
"And they'll definitely be aiming to use this as a chance to get their season up and running, and to get themselves firing back into winning form.
"So that will make them very dangerous, and we have to be wary of that.
"The French are not always 100 per cent committed to the Amlin, but that's definitely not going to be the case here.
"Anyone who takes the field in the shirt, they have the responsibility to uphold the honour and the reputation of the club, no matter the fixture or the opposition.
"So that's no different this weekend – then add into that the fact a lot of players will be keen to show what they can do, and there's no motivation shortage on that front.
"And also we're in this competition to go as far as we can: so if we can start with a win that would be ideal."
Relieved by Gloucester's 16-10 West Country derby victory on Saturday, James said the Cherry and Whites are making good progress under Nigel Davies.
Despite still craving sharper performance levels, James said the Cherry and Whites will happily take eking out victories for the time being.
He added: "It was a tough game and we didn't start well at all, but we're closing out some close games now and that's very encouraging.
"The aim is to play the best we can every time, but if you can still produce results in a very competitive league without firing on all cylinders, we'll take that in the meantime.
"We've got some more responsibility on our shoulders in the pack to take the game to opponents if that's what we feel is the right thing to do, and we are certainly enjoying that element of things."