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May fired up for cup clash

Gloucester must pounce on their Amlin Challenge Cup "breath of fresh air" to help secure top-tier European rugby next season, according to England wing Jonny May.

Speed king May will line up against Wasps in Sunday's Adams Park Amlin quarter-final, with Gloucester chasing glory in the competition they won in 2006.

Gloucester face Dai Young's side again in the Aviva Premiership St George's Day clash at Twickenham on Saturday, April 19, with a west country derby against Bath at Kingsholm sitting in between the two clashes with Wasps.

The Premiership's top six finishers will qualify automatically for the top-tier European tournament to replace the Heineken Cup for next season.

The seventh-placed club will face a play-off with their French Top 14 counterparts, and Wasps and Gloucester look set to slug it out for that privilege.

Both sides could be forgiven then for attaching greater importance to the Twickenham league clash on April 19 than Sunday's European date, but 24-year-old May rejected any such notion.

"It's a real opportunity for Gloucester to have something to be proud of this season," May told ERC.com.

"It's a breath of fresh air and it's definitely an opportunity for us to go out there and enjoy ourselves.

"We're in a quarter-final and if we win three games we'll have something to be really proud of. We're looking forward to it."

A resolution on the two-year European rugby stand-off remains agonisingly close, with only paperwork thought to have delayed final details on next season's knock-out format revamp.

This season's Amlin Challenge Cup winners are expected to qualify for next term's top-tier European contest as normal, but that is yet to be confirmed.

The Anglo-French play-off is a far greater certainty as the situation stands, but May said neither Gloucester nor Wasps will be worrying about next season this weekend.

May said Gloucester simply remain intent on rescuing a disappointing season through the prospect of silverware.

"Winning trophies is what our fans expect of us and it's what we expect of ourselves as well," he said.

"Things haven't been great this season but we've shown at times what we can do and, if we can put it all together, we can get some positive results in the Amlin and have something to cheer about."

Bath host Brive in Sunday's other last-eight tie in the Amlin, with Mike Ford's side looking to shake off a two-game home losing streak.

First Bath lost out 22-19 to Exeter Chiefs in LV= Cup action, then Sale Sharks pilfered a 12-11 Premiership victory last weekend.

Uncapped England squad wing Anthony Watson admits it is time for Bath to put their campaign back on track.

"Fordy (coach Mike Ford) always talks about trying to learn quickly and that's something that, as an organisation, we try to pride ourselves on," Watson told ERC.com.

"Having lost in the LV= semi-final, we'll learn a lot from it and it will probably stand us in good stead going into the Amlin quarter-final.

"It's added fuel to the fire."

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