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Gloucester focus on positives after collapse against Leicester

Published 08/09/2016

Matt Kvesic and his Gloucester colleagues will look to bounce back from an opening day Aviva Premiership defeat when they tackle Worcester on Friday
Matt Kvesic and his Gloucester colleagues will look to bounce back from an opening day Aviva Premiership defeat when they tackle Worcester on Friday

Matt Kvesic says that Gloucester have tried to be "as positive as possible" in the wake of their second-half implosion against Aviva Premiership opponents Leicester last week.

Gloucester return to league action on Friday when they tackle Worcester at Sixways, and the west country club need a rapid response after Leicester scored 31 unanswered points in 33 minutes, turning a 31-7 deficit into an unlikely 38-31 success.

"At the end of the game, the mood was very low. It was embarrassing, and the boys didn't need telling," England international flanker Kvesic said, ahead of a return to his former club.

"We've tried to be as positive as possible. We know the second half wasn't great, but the way we started the game and how we played was some of the best rugby Gloucester have played for a number of years.

"That is the Gloucester we want to be this season - we want to challenge teams. Leicester are a top-quality team, and they were chasing us around the park for the first 40 minutes.

"In the second half we froze a little bit. Maybe we tried to shut up shop, rather than keep going, as we had done in the first half."

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys has retained the side that started against Leicester but history suggests it could be another tough test for his team. They have not claimed an away Premiership victory over the Warriors since 2010.

Humphreys said: "Every week, we know there is a huge challenge ahead. If we're going to win the game, we will have to be at our very best, as we were for the first 50 minutes of last Friday night's game.

"(Worcester) are a good team. We played them in Europe and in the Premiership last year. They have a good coaching team in place.

"We know what their strengths are, but it's about playing to our strengths, and we've placed a real focus on reproducing the positive elements of the first 50 minutes of last week's performance."

Worcester, beaten 35-3 by Premiership champions Saracens in their league opener, make three changes from that match, with prop James Johnston, lock Donncha O'Callaghan and back-row forward Alafoti Faosiliva all starting.

Like Worcester and Gloucester, Sale Sharks will also seek a response from an opening-weekend defeat when Harlequins arrive at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.

Sale were edged out 19-17 by Newcastle, and Sharks rugby director Steve Diamond, who has made four changes, said: "We have high expectation levels at the club.

"We could have done a lot better last week against Newcastle, but we will do a lot better on Friday night.

"It will be a tough game. Quins have got a good leadership team and new players in, so they will be throwing everything at us to get the win. For us, it's back to the grindstone at the AJ Bell, and grind out another successful season at home."

Quins, meanwhile, are unchanged after edging past newly-promoted Bristol five days ago, with England full-back Mike Brown again absent while he continues his recovery from illness, but it is expected that he will be in the selection mix for next week's trip to Exeter.

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