Keith Richardson Report: Teamwork key as Davies' men raise expectations
CURIOUS that in defeat last weekend Gloucester raised perhaps higher hopes of a season of success than at any other point thus far.
If the Cherry and Whites can play nowhere near their best and still lose narrowly at the champions, maybe they can mount a serious challenge for top honours this year.
Such is the topsy-turvy nature of sport. The Kingsholm men lost out but offered real portent of positive times ahead.
Certain units of this side might not be the strongest around – but these boys really do play for each other.
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A team and squad that can stick together like that can often produce a sum far greater than its parts.
If that continues to happen, the sky might just be the limit.
Gloucester's greatest task in this LV=Cup fortnight is to maintain momentum.
The Anglo-Welsh Cup is an all-embracing competition that effectively means it is whatever each club wants to make of it.
Both sides are without a number of first-teamers tomorrow, with the autumn international series under way this weekend and key players rested to boot.
In that situation, anything can happen – but consistency is at the heart of Nigel Davies' new Gloucester focus.
And in terms of morale and camp feeling, another positive performance and maybe even result would do wonders to keep the Cherry and Whites motoring.
Ospreys are the best side in the principality, and even with their changes they will be very stubborn and difficult to deconstruct.
But so far, every time Davies has switched selection the players charged with performing have done just that.
It can be amazing how quickly a competition that offers chances for youngsters and squad players can switch to a serious chance of securing a Heineken Cup spot.
No such thoughts spill into tonight's contest, however, with plenty of Gloucester men desperate to prove their selection point.
Davies' whole squad seem hungry for action, and ready to shake off whatever is thrown at them.
Last week's last-gasp try against Quins never looked like coming before that, in all honesty.
But Gloucester dug in hard, and stayed in the game.
To battle to victory tonight, the Cherry and Whites will need just as much grit and grind.