Nigel Davies: Gloucester will learn a lot from clash with Exeter Chiefs
A GRUELLING Exeter challenge will provide Gloucester with the ideal half-term barometer, believes Nigel Davies.
The Cherry and Whites host the gritty Chiefs at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick-off 3pm), marking the Premiership season's halfway point.
Rugby director Davies expects the unrelenting battle to be a true test of his side's progress in his first season at the Kingsholm helm.
Saturday's clash is fifth-versus-sixth and victory spoils could spur Gloucester to a campaign to remember, asserted Davies.
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He explained: "There's not much between us and the top of the table, and there's not much between us and Exeter either.
"So Saturday's game will be very interesting, and it will tell us a lot at the midway point of the season about exactly where we are.
"We've got to be pleased with where we are, but we've got to push on and be restless in terms of wanting to achieve more."
Exeter pitch up at Kingsholm unbeaten in seven matches.
Gloucester boss Davies admitted his side must improve markedly from last week, despite hammering London Irish 47-3 in the Amlin Challenge Cup.
Hailing regimented Exeter's continued Premiership rise, former Wales centre Davies said Gloucester must raise their game to see off the spirited Chiefs.
He continued: "We're coming up against a very organised and committed side on Saturday, so the quality of what we're going to do must be very accurate.
"Exeter were very effective in the Championship, and they've evolved that and brought it into the Premiership too.
"They are certainly looking to take their game to the next level this year as well.
"It's a game they all understand very well, and commit to, it demands a lot of energy and a high work-rate and that's what we have to match.
"We've got to be quite significantly sharper than last week.
"Each week has a different flavour and feel to it in the season, and there's no doubt we've got to raise the level again for this challenge.
"We have to refocus and reset ourselves, and be mindful of the differences."