Nigel Davies: Gloucester Rugby can be source of city pride
ADD accuracy and discipline to raw finishing power and the Cherry and Whites will produce a team the city of Gloucester can cherish, believes Nigel Davies.
The Kingsholm boss admits his Gloucester side remain too error strewn to be the source of civic pride just yet.
But he is confident Gloucester will grow into the robust, accurate and clinical outfit that the city and county can believe in.
Hailing the spirit of supporters for helping clear snow from the Kingsholm pitch on Friday, Davies admitted Saturday's 36-16 Mont de Marsan victory was still below expected par.
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Gloucester's five-try victory rounded off their flawless Amlin Challenge Cup pool one record in something approaching style.
The Cherry and Whites will now face Basque titans Biarritz in their Kingsholm quarter-final, to be played on a date between April 4 to 7.
Should Gloucester see off the 2012 Amlin Challenge Cup winners they would then face a semi-final away trip to the winners of Wasps versus Leinster.
The Biarritz clash means a return for former Kingsholm flier Iain Balshaw (inset) – and rugby director Davies is excited by the challenge the potent Biarritz men will pose.
Davies explained: "The whole community deserve a huge amount of credit for their part in making sure Saturday's game went ahead.
"People from the city and the county turned out in droves to help us get the pitch ready, and that just sums up again what this club means to them.
"We're working hard to provide a team on the field they can be proud of – we're not there yet, there's holes and inaccuracies in our game – but we're moving forward, we're building this team and we're building a bit of confidence in this team.
"We're showing glimpses but not for sufficiently long enough periods.
"And a big part of the motivation for doing all of this, striving so hard to get it right, is to repay our wonderful support."
Fit-again pair Jonny May and Henry Trinder claimed a try brace apiece, with wing Charlie Sharples crossing too.
The season effectively starts here for May and Trinder and Davies said their return will boost attacking options as Gloucester seek full cohesion.
He continued: "Our accuracy has got to improve if we want to win that quarter-final.
"We've got the finishing power, as we saw on a couple of occasions out there, but our accuracy has to improve, and discipline in terms of the penalties that we give away, that has to improve too.
"But I think the mere fact that you play a better team, one of the best around, tends to bring out the best in sides as well.
"We've played almost all season without Jonny and Henry, but both of them showed exactly what they're capable of at the weekend.
"Charlie's starting to move his game forward as well, and he's been playing fantastically well anyway.
"So all of a sudden we've got some good selection options behind the scrum.
"It's very important that as a group we get experience of what play-off and knockout matches are like.
"From that we'll grow and become better, and more experienced in that environment.
"We have to be reasonably pleased to have made the knockout stages of a competition in our first season together.
"But that's only the first part of the job.
"The fact we've got a home quarter-final is huge for us now.
"And we'll look forward to welcoming one of the big powerhouses of Europe.
"We showed glimpses of what we could do on Saturday, but now we've got to push that forward.
"We've said all along we're a work in progress as a side, and there's some elements that always shine through and we're trying to add more to that now."