Taming Leicester Tigers a massive feat, says Gloucester Rugby's Ben Morgan
LEICESTER Tigers victory can be the catalyst for Gloucester to turn belief and potential into sustained success, hopes Ben Morgan.
The marauding number eight believes the Cherry and Whites' 27-21 Kingsholm win on Saturday rubber-stamps their impressive start to the new Premiership season.
And now he has backed Nigel Davies' men to harness that early progress and force an assault on the division.
Former Dursley and Cinderford loose forward Morgan reckons Gloucester's ability to weather nine second-half minutes with two men in the sin-bin underlines their growing credentials.
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The 23-year-old explained: "It was vital for our season and our campaign that we got that result.
"We've got massive belief in our ability and potential – but obviously belief needs to transfer into results.
"So far we've been managing to do that, and it can only help keep pushing us in the right direction.
"All credit to Leicester for making it very difficult, but I think we've shown what we're capable of.
"We're still not firing on all cylinders but glimpses of brilliance are there, and it's really pleasing to see that each time we're playing, we're progressing.
"When we're in key attacking areas, we've just got to have more control in our game through the options we take.
"But overall we're really pleased with that and we can't complain at all.
"That's a massive result for us, a really important win.
"It just goes to show what grit we've got as a side.
"Jimmy Cowan and Rob Cook were sin-binned at basically the same time, but we still stood up: that shows we're ready to battle to get the job done, no matter what.
"They made it very difficult for us but we stayed on top of our game."
Relishing being a central part of Gloucester's swashbuckling back-row unit, Morgan said the Kingsholm loose forwards are keen to keep terrorising opponents with ball in hand.
He continued: "It's a great back-row to be involved in: you've got carriers all over the place.
"And that really makes it a dangerous threat for teams, because you don't know who's going to be getting the ball, because everyone's there putting their hands up for it.
"And that makes it very difficult to defend.
"I think we've all been linking up really well, and you see the way guys like Q (Akapusi Qera) and K (Sione Kalamafoni) smash the ball forward, it's got to be great to watch, and it's definitely exciting to be a part of it all."
Morgan linked up with the England squad yesterday as preparations for the autumn internationals gather pace.
The Gloucester number eight and team-mate Charlie Sharples will not be available for the Cherry and Whites' clash at Harlequins on Saturday.
England take on Fiji on Saturday, November 3, before hosting Australia, South Africa and New Zealand on successive weekends at Twickenham.
Stuart Lancaster's men are well aware they need to emerge in credit from taking on the Southern Hemisphere big-three.
Morgan sees a lot of parallels between Gloucester's and England's situations, and he hopes Lancaster's men can mirror the Cherry and Whites' progress.
Backing England to make big strides towards the 2015 World Cup, even in the next few months, he added: "It's a very similar situation with Gloucester and with England.
"I'm very excited to be a part of both squads, and I think both are improving and building all the time.
"We're at similar stages of our development I think.
"You can see things going forward and I think that's really pleasing.
"We've got to progress at a pretty fast rate now with England, because the home World Cup is the big picture and we're definitely keeping that in mind.
"At Gloucester we've talked about the need to adapt to situations on the field, and we've spoken about the need to adapt after the summer with England too.
"This is about as tough a test as England can get: but if we can control our game, then we'll be halfway there."