Tom Savage wants 'improving' Gloucester Rugby to calm Leicester Tigers
CHOKEHOLD specialists Leicester must not be allowed to strangle the life out of Gloucester on Saturday, believes Tom Savage.
The fit-again 23-year-old has called on Gloucester to assert themselves up front against the Tigers at Kingsholm (kick-off 4.45pm) to hit back to Premiership action in style.
Former Bishop's Castle RFC lock Savage has raced through the Gloucester ranks in the last two years.
The powerful Shropshire-raised second row has quickly established himself as a key part of Nigel Davies' plans this term.
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Buoyed by returning to action after knee trouble, Savage said Gloucester must subdue Leicester's bullish pack in order to pull off victory this weekend.
He explained: "You know what they're coming with, a massive pack of forwards that will try to drain the life out of you, and they've got some pretty awesome backs that can pull you apart too.
"We've got to assert some dominance out there, get ourselves into the game and prove we can be an 80-minute team that can apply pressure for the duration.
"Coming off the two European games where the boys got two good results, everyone is well aware of how the challenge just keeps on ramping up.
"It doesn't get much bigger than Leicester at home, they are always up there and thereabouts and things aren't any different this year.
"We're still fully aware we're nowhere near the finished article, we haven't put together a performance that we've felt was spot-on.
"But we still feel as though we're improving all the time, and that's encouraging.
"It's great to be back fit, I really enjoyed getting back into things against Bordeaux last week.
"I had an injury to my knee last season, and that just inflamed again when I twisted it in a ruck.
"So that just needed some time to calm down, I feel absolutely fine now and it's great to be back.
"And now we've got to prepare for an all-out battle, in every aspect this weekend."
Savage knew Gloucester's reputation before he arrived as a student at Hartpury College – but he said only first-hand experience has helped him fully appreciate the cherry and white passion.
He continued: "I was a big follower of rugby, so I knew Gloucester was a well-established Premiership side and I knew about the great links with Hartpury College, so that's one of the reasons I picked that university.
"But I don't think it's until you've lived here a couple of years, or you've been to a number of games, that you fully understand what it's all about.
"Even training with the team, getting the experience of that, gives another level of insight.
"It's such a special place.
"No one's in a football shirt, no one really cares much about anything else, everyone in the parks is chucking rugby balls about and everything here is built towards rugby.
"It's brilliant for the city, it is massive motivation for us as players and it's just a fantastic place to play.
"You don't need much more help than that, when you go out for the warm-up at Kingsholm and the reception you always get.
"So everyone will be really looking forward to that reception on Saturday."