Bristol Rugby’s season stands at a crossroads but Jordan Crane is convinced his side will head down the right path – starting with a morale-boosting win in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Friday night.
The club decided to part ways with director of rugby Andy Robinson earlier this week having yet to record a win in all competitions since their return to Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Click here for the latest fixtures and results from the Anglo-Welsh Cup
But while the search is on for a new head coach, the squad has already come together with renewed focus – according to Crane – ahead of the clash with Sale Sharks at Ashton Gate.
“As players we all need to step up if we want to do Robbo (Andy Robinson) justice by going out there and performing,” said the former Leicester Tigers No.8. “We have got massive support in this city and we need to earn their respect as well.
“There’s one or two ways we can go down – the London Welsh route of losing every week or pull together and try to right the wrongs of the past few months.
“It’s a difficult time, a lot of us feel partially responsible for what happened. As a group we still believe we can achieve our goal of staying in the Premiership, and we know we’ve got a big job to do but we can’t let it affect us.
“Every club at some point will have a real sticky patch, at Leicester we’d have crisis talks after big losses and ultimately we’d had a tough few games at Bristol.
“We need to look forward and it starts this week against Sale. If we can get our first win it would give us a real springboard and I feel we are not that far away, it’s a couple of extra per cent we need across the board.”
— Bristol Rugby (@Bristol_RFC) November 8, 2016
Bristol led Worcester Warriors at Sixways at half-time in their Anglo-Welsh Cup opener only for the hosts to come out all guns blazing and take a 31-25 win.
Click here for the latest Anglo-Welsh Cup tables and an explanation of the format of the tournament
But Crane admits that a first victory at Ashton Gate against a Sale side they disappointed against in the corresponding Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture a fortnight ago would be particularly fitting.
“A win would be unbelievable,” he added. “When you are on a losing run like this, you feel that every 50/50 ball is hoping against you and if we can buck the trend it would be massive, especially on Friday night with the fans behind us.
“People had built it (the fixture against Sale) up to be the big game that we needed to win and the way we played, it was very disappointing.
“It was never going to define our season but Friday would be a great way to show our passion and pride in front of the fans.”
The second round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup kicks off this weekend. For full details of the tournament and tickets for the Final at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday 19 March see www.new-heroes.com