Dave Lewis is familiar with the ferocious Kingsholm crowd and the scrum-half is confident a fast start is the key to Exeter Chiefs’ chances of silencing the home support in Gloucester this weekend.
Exeter visit the Cherry & Whites for an all-Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final in the European Rugby Challenge Cup on Saturday evening.
Lewis spent six years with Gloucester Rugby before switching for Sandy Park in the summer of 2013, making 20 Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances in a productive campaign last season.
This time around they are challenging for a place in the top four and on the hunt for European glory, with Gloucester standing in their way this weekend.
And Lewis admits staying on top of a passionate Kingsholm crowd could be the difference between securing their place in the final and missing out.
“If we play well enough and get a good start – keeping them quiet so they don’t really get in the game – it does make your life a lot easier,” said the 25-year-old.
“I think it’s the same wherever you play – your home support always makes a massive difference. At Chiefs were have got fantastic support, as do Gloucester.
“Although it’s my old team it’s not really something I have thought about. I’ve obviously been here a long time and our only focus is going up there, winning and getting ourselves in the final.
“I think we have won one and lost one against them this year. We know how good they can be but we are also confident in what we can do. We just have to go up there and take care of ourselves.
“There have been some good games in the last couple of years and hopefully this is going to be another one. We’re confident in what we can do and we’ve just got to go up there and put what we’ve been doing this week into practice.”
Gloucester – 15 points off the Aviva Premiership Rugby top six and ten behind Sale Sharks in seventh – face a tough task in securing a Champions Cup place for next season.
However, victory in this competition would secure their place in the end-of-season Champions Cup play-off, and Lewis admits that does bring an added spice to the fixture.
He added: “This is probably their best chance of getting into the Champions Cup for next year so you would say maybe a lot of their season rests on it.
“I know how important that is to them so it will give it that extra bit of edge – as well as being a night game, which they like at Kingsholm.
“It would be new territory for us, getting into a European final – it already is getting into a European semi-final and we just want to make history for the club.”
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