Gloucester Rugby got to sort out lineout against Bath – Nigel Davies
TAME Bath's lineout weapon and Gloucester can steel themselves for derby victory, believes Nigel Davies.
The Gloucester boss has called on his side to take control of the lineout contest tomorrow, after several weeks struggling at that set-piece.
The Cherry and Whites' powerful scrummage has been a huge feature of their impressive start to the Premiership season.
And now rugby director Davies wants his pack charges to put their lineout in similar order.
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Expecting a stern examination at the lineout and the driving maul from Bath at Kingsholm tomorrow (kick-off 2.15pm), Davies explained: "The pack's gone very well so far, and our scrum is exceptional, it's giving us a lot of mileage, it's a big factor in our successes so far.
"The lineout is not functioning the way we'd want. We're not panicked about it, but we know it's an area we've got to improve on.
"I suspect Bath will kick a lot, and they might not be too worried about kicking the ball off the field to try to challenge our lineout.
"So they'll challenge our ball, and look to attack us on their lineout too, and look to drive.
"We know what to expect, and now it's just about getting that right how we handle it on the day.
"The lineout drive can be a bit of a mess these days, in the same way that the scrum can be sometimes in some respects.
"And so we've got to take control of that where possible now."
Captain Jim Hamilton led by example in Gloucester's 31-25 London Welsh victory last weekend, putting in a mammoth 19 tackles – the most of any Premiership player in round five.
Number eight Ben Morgan raked up 13 tackles in Gloucester's 29-22 Kingsholm victory over Wasps the previous week. And Davies said that kind of industry only serves to underline the growing grit and resolve of his side.
Calling for more of the same against Bath, Davies continued: "It's great to see guys in the pack putting in massive defensive shifts like that, and they are far from consigned to the tackling statistics.
"Ben put in a big defensive showing against Wasps, and that's a side of his game that is not necessarily something people mark him out for.
"It's something we've tried to work hard with him on in recent times, and hopefully that's paying dividend.
"And Jim certainly played a captain's role at Welsh. It indicates what kind of pressure we were under at times maybe, but it also indicates how we handled that pressure."