Gloucester Rugby captain Greig Laidlaw has called for consistency from his team ahead of their crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby clash with the Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Gloucester are coming off the back of a strong showing in their 26-13 win away to Sale Sharks, largely thanks to the reliable boot of Laidlaw, who scored 16 points.
But if talent has never been an issue for the Cherry & Whites, an ability to perform at their best week in, week out, will be crucial if they are to achieve their season’s ambitions.
“It’s about consistency. We have been there or thereabouts this season. It’s always about the next game for us,” said Laidlaw.
“When you play against good teams you are always going to be under pressure at times, and that was the pleasing thing about when we played Sale.
“We were under pressure for large parts in the second half, but our defence stood up and we came away with a good result.”
Gloucester currently sit fifth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and Laidlaw believes that his squad are in good shape to face Newcastle as they target a first home win of the campaign.
The Falcons’ only win in their last five Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures was 19-17 at home to Sale on the opening day of the new season.
But Laidlaw has stressed the need for Gloucester to play for 80 minutes or risk falling to a similar fate as their disappointing opening loss to Leicester Tigers at home that saw them blow a 31-7 advantage.
Laidlaw’s confidence ahead of this week’s fixtures may be visible in his own game following an excellent start to his season.
His goal-kicking accuracy has so far given him the outstanding statistic of 16 from 16 in the league, as he tries to catch Mark van Gisbergen’s all-time record of 22 successfully converted kicks to start the season.
His faultless kicking led to David Humphreys, Gloucester’s director of rugby, commenting that ‘Greig’s kicking is now so good we almost don’t notice it’.
However, regardless of Laidlaw’s fine kicking performance to date, the Scot knows the good work achieved at Sale will be wasted with a loss to Newcastle.
He added: “We can get in the top four if we win, and we have got to back ourselves to do that this weekend. If we turn up and play our best on the field, I’m going to back us to win.
“We have been performing pretty well across our defence and we feel as though we have got better and better every week. We want to take another step forward this week.”