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Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys sees improvement in form


Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys believes his players are on an improving run

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys believes his players are on an improving run

Gloucester rugby director David Humphreys believes his players are on an improving run

David Humphreys believes that Gloucester have shown an improvement in form as they prepare to resume their Aviva Premiership campaign.

Gloucester head to Franklin's Gardens on Friday to face Northampton after both clubs made unconvincing starts to the Premiership season, winning just three games between them and currently lying eight points adrift of the play-off zone.

Since losing to Bath earlier this month, though, Gloucester drew at Exeter and then posted successive European Challenge Cup victories over Bayonne and Treviso.

Rugby director Humphreys said: "Over the last three weeks, we've improved.

"Our performances have got better and better and now it's a case of going back into what we know is a huge game for us against a team that has had a similar start to us this season, but a team who we know have got very good players.

"We've only played six games in the league this season and two wins can move you from 10th to fourth. Then, it's a very different conversation.

"None of us like being towards the bottom of the table, but all you can do is, going into next week, make sure you've prepared very well.

"We are coming off the back of a good run of games and our focus has been very much on making sure that some of those good things we've delivered over the last few weeks are even better going into the Northampton match.

"It's a case of us ensuring that for every game we go into we've prepared well and given ourselves the best possible chance to win. But, also bearing in mind that we are going to play what is a very good team.

"It's a huge challenge for us, but one that we are in a better place now to meet."

Humphreys has made five changes in the starting line-up following last Saturday's 37-8 win against Treviso at Kingsholm.

One switch behind the scrum sees Mark Atkinson recalled at inside centre with Billy Twelvetrees moving across to fly-half as replacement for Billy Burns, while up-front, there are starts for hooker Richard Hibbard, lock Mariano Galarza, flanker Jacob Rowan and number eight Ben Morgan.

Northampton will need to show an immediate response following last Saturday's 41-7 drubbing by Champions Cup opponents Castres, and address a run that has seen them win just two of their last six games in all competitions.

Saints rugby director Jim Mallinder fields a side showing five changes, with centre George Pisi and scrum-half Lee Dickson both featuring, while there are also starts for hooker Mikey Haywood, lock Christian Day and flanker Calum Clark.

England skipper Dylan Hartley is among the replacements and Saints are captained by flanker Tom Wood, who gained an England squad recall on Thursday for this season's autumn Tests.