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Jacob Rowan relishing Gloucester Rugby’s back-row competition

SALFORD, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 16:  Greig Laidlaw of Gloucester Rugby celebrates with Jacob Rowan after the Aviva Premiership match between Sale Sharks and Gloucester Rugby at AJ Bell Stadium on September 16, 2016 in Salford, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Matt Kvesic may be one of Gloucester Rugby’s prize pieces but in Jacob Rowan they have another No.7 desperate to make the most of his chance over the European fortnight.

Rowan made a fast start to his career – becoming Yorkshire Carnegie’s youngest-ever captain in 2012 – but patience has been the name of the game since switching to Kingsholm two seasons ago.

In his way has been turnover king Kvesic, who snaffled the ball an Aviva Premiership Rugby-best 29 times last year.

But in his fellow back-rower’s absence, Rowan has set about showing he can be just as menacing at the breakdown after creating five turnovers already this year.

“It’s something we focus on as a team, especially the back-row unit,” the 26-year-old admitted.

“We’re always doing bits after training on the Thursday. As back-rowers we’re looking at making those good decisions whether it’s turning the ball over or carrying it through into contact.

“I’m pretty happy, I’ve managed to start a few games now which is great. The competition is still there though, you have to still be on your toes and keep fighting across the board and not just in the back-row.

“Everyone’s performance counts and it’s about taking those opportunities when you get that chance.”

While the Cherry & Whites have been promising in spurts, they have not yet found a winning formula – with two draws already from their six Aviva Premiership Rugby games played.

The European Rugby Challenge Cup, which Gloucester won in 2014/15, represents a chance to turn things around and Rowan admits it is a competition they want to taste success in again – starting at Bayonne on Saturday.

“We take it seriously, we have done the last two years so there’s no reason why we can’t get back to winning ways there,” he added. “It hasn’t gone amazingly or the way we wanted to, but away from home we’ve got good results and it’s about taking momentum over from last week.

“We’re looking for that complete performance up until the end of the game, it’s all well and good for 70 or 75 minutes but we’re slipping up a bit towards the end of the second half.

“We have to maintain that concentration and minimize the errors. You look at some of the errors we make with ball in play towards the end of the game and it’s disappointing for us, we look to address that week in week out.”

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