Gloucester Rugby’s squad has already shown its character this season and there’s still plenty more to come, according to summer recruit Mark Atkinson.
The Cherry & Whites got their Aviva Premiership campaign up-and-running with a 34-27 win over Sale Sharks last weekend, following their opening-weekend demolition at the hands of Northampton Saints.
The 24-year-old admitted it was a relief to get the first win under their belts, and it certainly lightened the mood in the Gloucester camp ahead of their clash with Exeter this weekend.
“It’s been a good week at training for us,” he said. “It’s certainly a lot easier coming back in on a Monday after a win like we did last weekend, rather than the week before.
“There’s been lots of smiles on faces this week so we’re just trying to carry that on into this weekend.
“No-one likes to lose the first game after working so hard in preseason, especially in the manner that we lost.
“But it does show the character in the squad that we were able to turn that around, and it looked like we could have a similar result on our hands at half-time against Sale.
“We haven’t talked in too much detail about our aims for this season, but we know as a squad what we are capable of.
“We’re a relatively new squad with a lot of talent and I think on our day we’ll be a match for anyone in this league.
“I think we’ll have a better idea of where we’re at come Christmas-time. It’s a case of building ourselves up from where we are now.”
Atkinson came off the bench in both of Gloucester’s fixtures so far this season and he is enjoying his time at Kingsholm since his move from Bedford in the summer.
And he has no problem waiting patiently for a place in the Cherry & Whites’ starting line-up.
“If someone had told me a few weeks ago I’d be on the bench for the first three games of the season I’d have been happy,” he said.
“But it’s funny, obviously once you get to that position you want to be playing as much as possible rather than watching from the sidelines.
“I think it’s more important to focus on the good of the squad and our progress rather than on my own personal ambitions.
“If I have to wait a few weeks on the bench before I get some more game time, then so be it."
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