Morris: We must avoid going down
IF Gloucestershire drop out of the County Championship top tier it would have huge ramifications, according to team manager Paul Morris.
That is the situation the county face if they lose to unbeaten Bill Beaumont Cup Division South One leaders Hertfordshire at Cinderford's Dockham Road ground tomorrow (3pm).
Morris' men have so far suffered defeats at Cornwall and North Midlands, both who were beaten by Hertfordshire's star-studded squad.
On paper Gloucestershire's squad looks one of the strongest in years.
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A lack of preparation time has undermined their efforts, but Morris said they must win at all costs today.
"We have to round off with a win," said Cinderford United coach/manager Morris.
"Defeat would mean Gloucestershire dropping into the second tier of the Country Championship for the first time ever and I don't think anybody wants to be associated with that. We have to deliver on Gloucestershire soil at Cinderford otherwise we will be playing in the second tier next season and is not good enough.
"I want to keep Gloucestershire in this division because we should always be in it.
"We are also aware of this is the last game for us whatever happens, there is no Twickenham at the end of this, there is no fourth game.
"We have lost two games, which is not a lot of games to lose, but the reality of this competition is we are staring relegation in the face."
Hertfordshire's expensively constructed squad boasts four Saracens, including rugby league convert Joel Tompkins, plus three Bedford players from the second tier of the English game.
Last season Hertfordshire finished runners-up to Lancashire in their first-ever final and inflicted Gloucestershire's heaviest defeat in their County Championship history on their way to Twickenham, 53-8.
Gloucestershire coaches John Barnes and Matt Salter make six changes to the side that lost 47-37 at Stourbridge.
Morris said the players can more than match the Hertfordshire 'Galacticos'.
"They come with a star-studded backline but there is no one in the Gloucestershire side quaking in their boots," he said.
"We have good players. Our midfield of Mike Wilcox, Seb Rodwell, Robbie Winchle and Christian Gervais, they are not the four worst players in the world, that is for certain.
"Captain Will Foden has always embraced the county concept, as has our hooker Sam Wilkes.
"They are two players who can look themselves in the mirrors and it is a time for that now."