Though Gloucester Rugby will not want to revel in the manner of their opening weekend defeat by Leicester Tigers, flanker Matt Kvesic believes the Cherry & Whites should take heart from playing some of their best rugby in years.
All appeared to be going swimmingly for David Humphreys’ side as they amassed a 24-point lead early in the second half.
But, as Leicester Tigers rallied, Gloucester went into their shells and the ten-time Aviva Premiership Rugby champions fought back to win 38-31.
Their response against Worcester Warriors this weekend will show whether or not there is any hangover from the result.
But Kvesic feels the way Gloucester moved the ball in the opening 40 minutes should give his team-mates encouragement for the challenges that lie ahead.
“We’ve tried to be as positive as possible. We know the second half wasn’t great, but the way we started the game was played some of the best rugby Gloucester have played for a number of years,” said the England international.
“That’s the Gloucester we want to be this season, we want to challenge teams.
“Leicester are a top quality team and they were chasing us around the park for the first 40 minutes.
“In the second half we froze a little bit, maybe were we a bit complacent and tried to shut up shop, rather than keep going as we had done in the first half.
“At half-time we spoke and the plan was to carry on doing what we were doing. At the end of the game the mood was very low, it was embarrassing and the boys didn’t need telling.”
In three of the last four seasons Gloucester have finished ninth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.
And only once since they hit the summit in 2008 have they recorded a top-four finish.
Glory in the last decade has been reserved for European competitions, but Kvesic has high hopes for what can be achieved on the domestic front.
“We want to be in the top four, that’s our aim,” added the 24-year-old.
“The top six, of course, will secure us European rugby, but we want to be pushing higher than that.”