Gloucester Rugby joint captain Gareth Delve insists his side see this weekend's trip to Parc des Sports Aguilera to face Biarritz Olympique in the Pool 2 contest between the two unbeaten sides as a real chance to make a positive statement
Gloucester Rugby joint captain Gareth Delve insists his side see this weekend's trip to Parc des Sports Aguilera to face Biarritz Olympique in the Pool 2 contest between the two unbeaten sides as a real chance to make a positive statement.
The Cherry and Whites narrowly overcame a spirited Newport Gwent Dragons side at Kingsholm, while Biarritz produced a solid performance to return from Glasgow with a precious away win.
And while the two sides may be level on points in the group, league form and home advantage suggests the Basques will be heavy favourites against their West Country opponents.
But although Welsh international back row forward Delve recognises the size of the challenge ahead of his team, he is also confident that they will do themselves proud in south-west France.
"Biarritz are passionate guys and they've got fantastic home form, in fact they're in fantastic form at the moment full stop," said Delve.
"But we'll just look to concentrate on our own game. It can be seen as a daunting trip or it can be seen as a great opportunity - and we are going to look at it as an opportunity.
"We have got some huge talents in this team and we've got to make sure that we give them the platform they need to have a good crack at the opposition.
"And we will be well prepared for Biarritz. They're a superb team but we've got to back ourselves. We want to go there and look to win.
"With a home win in the bag, we can go out there and have a real go at them."
And, although the overall performance against the Dragons, and a record of two wins and three loses in the Guinness Premiership may not be the ideal preparation for an away fixture against one of the continent's leading sides, Delve believes Gloucester have plenty on which to build.
"We go into every game looking to win it - that's the mentality," added the 26-year-old.
"This is a huge club. What we'll say to the guys is, 'Go out there, do your best and make everyone proud'.
"We know our performance against the Dragons can be built on. There were too many errors, too many knock-ons and too many passes not going to hand but they're the sort of things that are fairly simple to cut out.
"We weren't particularly happy with our showing as we made far too many mistakes but the resolve and heart to dig out a win against very tough opponents was excellent.
"That's a base for us to build on and we'll go over to Biarritz with plenty of confidence that we can give them a good game.
"It's a case of not going 90mph into everything but making sure ball goes to hand and we can put pressure on Biarritz.
"If we can give our backs a good platform and give Nicky Robinson good ball, then he'll put us in the right areas."
As part of the build-up to next month's Cardiff 2014 Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup finals weekend, ERC has joined forces with the WRU, Cardiff Blues and adidas to develop an annual grassroots community rugby programme targeting young players.
The Ulster Rugby full back, Jared Payne (No 15), has been suspended for two (2) weeks following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in Dublin arising from the Heineken Cup quarter-final match against Saracens at Ravenhill Stadium on Saturday, 5 April.