After an up and down first half of the season for Gloucester Rugby, hooker Tom Lindsay insists it is only a matter of time before they discover their best form in Aviva Premiership Rugby, after making the perfect start to defending their Challenge Cup trophy.
The Cherry & Whites sit just outside the Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top six with four wins and four losses from nine matches so far, but their form in Europe has been impeccable with five wins on the spin.
Retaining the Challenge Cup is high on Gloucester’s agenda, but with the likes of Leicester Tigers, Bath Rugby, Harlequins and Saracens all up next in Aviva Premiership Rugby, Lindsay knows now is the time to rediscover their spark domestically.
And the 28-year-old is hoping that making it a clean sweep in their Challenge Cup pool this weekend against Italian side Zebre can lead to a string of victories at Kingsholm.
“Definitely the aim is to get six from six in the pools,” he said. “We’ve always said that, and that will keep the confidence high heading back into the Aviva Premiership the following week.
“Especially with the last game being away from home we would like that win, and a lot of players will get the chance to play so they will be desperate to come away with a win.
“Zebre are a good team, a far better team than they have been in the past, and they are full of confidence as well with a couple of wins recently and 13 of their players getting picked for the Italian squad.
“Obviously we’ve already got the home quarter-final but you can never go into a game less than 100 per cent focused.
“There are so many reasons we want to win that game. We want to keep up our record in the competition, players will want to put their hands up, and it’s a long old journey to go there and not turn up.”
With the Six Nations kicking off in a matter of weeks, many sides in Aviva Premiership Rugby will see changes to their line-ups with players off on international duty.
But the Gloucester No.2 shirt will still be hotly contested with Richard Hibbard overlooked by Wales, and Lindsay is grateful for the competition.
He said: “I’m definitely happy with how I’ve started 2016. I’ve been given an opportunity in the side and tried to put my hand up.
“I’ve got a few things to work on still, but I’m looking forward to putting another marker down for that No.2 shirt when we go back into the Aviva Premiership.
“Competition in that position is good and healthy as we push each other every day in training, and it gets the best out of us.
“None of us are starting week in, week out and I don’t think you can do that nowadays anyway – you have to rotate the squad to get the best out of everybody, especially with the fixtures this season being so condensed.”