Mike Teague's call for future Gloucester Rugby legends
FUTURE Gloucester legends must keep the Cherry and Whites legacy alive, believes Mike Teague.
Number eight Teague graced Kingsholm across three decades, winning world renown with England and the British Lions too.
Now the 52-year-old is an active member of Gloucester's Former Players Association – and will lace his boots for that cause once again on Saturday.
Gloucester's Former Players will take on a Painswick Veterans XV at Broadham Fields (kick-off 3pm), and Teague is calling all ex-Cherry and Whites to lend their support, whether they play or just shout from the touchlines.
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Hailing the Former Players Association's continued development, Teague backed Gloucester's professional era stars to sustain the recent impetus.
Saturday's match celebrates Painswick's 140th anniversary, and Gloucester will present the club with a signed shirt.
The irony of finally returning a cherry and white shirt, given the fabled legend that Painswick lent Gloucester the colours in 1873, will not be lost on anyone this weekend.
Sadly the historians have disproved the notion that Gloucester took their colours from Painswick, but this gesture remains just as well-intentioned.
Teague explained: "We'll be presenting a shirt signed by the current Gloucester squad to Painswick – after 140 years it's probably about time we gave a shirt back!
"It's testament to the quality and strength of rugby in the county that a club like Painswick has been around for such a long time, and it's a pleasure to be involved.
"Simon Devereux, Andy Deacon and others from that era are now coming through and starting to get involved in Gloucester's Former Players Association, and that's great.
"It's imperative that players from the professional era embrace this concept, otherwise it won't continue to catch on.
"We want to follow the Leicester example and make sure we build that old club ethos, where former players retain an involvement and a stake in what happens at Kingsholm.
"So the big hope is that people like Andy Hazell and Pete Buxton, as and when they finish playing, they will be able to get involved too.
"There's still a nucleus of local lads in the Gloucester squad, and it will always be vital I think to have that, so the players can fully understand and appreciate the history and traditions of the club.
"And hopefully the former players' association is tied into all of that too."
Teague started life at Gloucester as an 18-year-old in 1978, and played right through until 1995.
Few loose forwards are more qualified to talk about the potential impact of Gloucester's new number eight Ben Morgan.
And Teague backed the former Dursley back-rower to shine at his hometown club.
He added: "It's great to see Ben Morgan at Kingsholm, a Dursley lad doing well for Gloucester now.
"The tradition of local players rising up to Gloucester obviously doesn't happen as often as it used to, but it's great that there are still avenues for men like Ben to do that.
"I met Ben after England's second test in South Africa, and I told him that there's one easy way to get the fans on side at Gloucester – play well.
"If you play well, everything will follow.
"The toughest thing about your second season is that there will be about four or five guys looking to take your head off in every game.
"So it only gets tougher, but he's a quality player and he'll certainly go well.
"There were signs on Saturday – at one point he tidied up a loose ball, thought better of an offload, drove in well and then recycled quickly, and that kind of thing is going to be ideal for Gloucester.
"This team will improve quite quickly, and I think Nigel Davies has made a good start, the result aside."
Players are asked to arrive at 2pm on Saturday. For more information contact Gary Little at Gloucester Rugby on 0871 871 8781.
GLOUCESTER SQUAD: Phil Blakeway, Gordon Sergeant, Malcolm Preedy, Rob Philips, Andy Deacon, Steve Mills, John Hawker, Kevin Dunn, Dave Sims, Simon Devereux, Steve Boyle, Richard West, John Orwin, John Gadd, Mike Longstaff, Ian Smith, Larry Cummings, Greg Keys, Mike Teague, John Watkins (referee), Pete Kingston, Steve Baker, Laurie Beck, Scott Benton, Mike Hamlin, Neil Matthews, Richard Mogg, Paul Taylor, Martin Roberts, Cormack O'Donahue, Dr Philip Pritchard, Derek Morgan, Jim Breeze, Bob Clewes, Tim Smith, Paul Ford, Eric Stephens.