Gloucester Rugby: Our Bath derby pain will spur us on - Pete Buxton
ANGRY Gloucester will store up their West Country derby frustrations – and unleash them on London Welsh, pledges Pete Buxton.
Back-rower Buxton believes the Cherry and Whites will easily remain enraged by their 31-25 Bath defeat on March 1, despite almost three weeks without a match.
Gloucester hit back to training yesterday after a week's break, to start the build-up towards hosting London Welsh at Kingsholm on Saturday, March 23 (kick-off 3pm).
Evergreen loose-forward Buxton reckons Nigel Davies' men are starting to find their attacking feet – but must now match that by shoring up their defensive work too.
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Buxton will join Bristol in the summer, ending 11 seasons at Kingsholm.
The 34-year-old wants to bow out in style, with another tilt at the Premiership play-offs.
And he admits channelling the irritations from defeat at The Rec can galvanise Gloucester into top form for their final five Premiership clashes.
The Cheltenham-born bruiser explained: "Losing to Bath was a massive frustration, and the boys need to stay angry about it.
"We might have had a week off, but that hurt of losing the derby, that has to stay there this week.
"We need to hold onto that now, and harness it.
"We should hold onto that frustration with elements of our performance and the fact we lost to our local rivals, and we should take that into our next game, against London Welsh.
"That's a huge game for both teams, for different reasons.
"But it's going to be pivotal to the rest of our season, without doubt.
"We've simply got to win to keep ourselves in the fight for the top four.
"There's obviously a fair period of time between the Bath and London Welsh games, but it won't be hard to hang onto our anger from defeat at The Rec.
"The challenge will be to ensure we use it in the right way."
Gloucester sit fifth in the Premiership ahead of the final regular-season drive.
Davies' troops trail fourth-placed Northampton by three points, hence Buxton's belief the Cherry and Whites can ill afford to lose to Welsh on their return to league action.
Gloucester are yet to take on the Exiles, Harlequins and Saracens at home, with trips to Sale Sharks and Exeter Chiefs still in the offing too.
Despite an impressive array of backline options the Cherry and Whites have struggled to hit the try-scoring heights of times past this term.
New boss Davies first made his side tough to beat and robust up front, expecting to add flair to the requisite steel with the passing of time.
Buxton believes that process is starting to come to fruition – but admitted Gloucester must not now lose sight of their defensive duties now their front-foot game is taking shape.
He continued: "I think we've started to become very dangerous with the ball in hand again in the last few weeks.
"We're really starting to attack with purpose, and we're finishing chances pretty well too.
"It's great to see, because we've always had that ability, but at times this season we've struggled to bring it all together.
"So I think we're going to see some great entertaining attacking rugby in the run-in now.
"But that alone is not going to be anywhere near enough.
"We've got to match that with what we do in defence.
"No one's happy with certain aspects of our defence right now, and we've got to sharpen that up and solve the problems that have arisen.
"If we can balance out our attack and defence then we're going to have a good chance of getting the results we need to force our way back into that top four.
"That's a big challenge though, and we've got to make sure we work hard on our defence in these two weeks now, before we take on London Welsh."