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Match Preview: Gloucester Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons

Match Preview: Gloucester Rugby v Newport Gwent Dragons

Reigning European Challenge Cup champions Gloucester Rugby owe their fans a performance in their quarter-final clash with Newport Gwent Dragons, according to scrum-half Greig Laidlaw.

The Cherry and Whites have not lost in the Challenge Cup for 15 matches, having won the competition last year and completed a perfect six out of six in their pool for the second consecutive year.

It’s a stark contrast to their Aviva Premiership Rugby form however where they slipped to their fourth straight defeat last weekend against Leicester Tigers.

Gloucester scored three tries in nine minutes at Welford Road to lead 27-13 at the break but, despite conceding three second-half tries and losing the game, Scotland captain Laidlaw believes his side can take plenty of positives into this weekend’s quarter-final.

He said: "We owe the fans a big performance; some great travelling support came along to Leicester so we have to be positive. We can take a lot from the performance against Leicester.

"It's another massive game, we want to win that competition again but we won't look past the Dragons.

“I've watched bits and bobs of them and they have a fair few threats.

“They will be abrasive and look to disrupt things in and around the breakdown, be strong at the set-piece but we have to get our part right and get our game going."

Saturday will be the first meeting between the clubs in the Challenge Cup, but Gloucester did come out on top in both the previous two encounters in the Champions Cup in 2009/10.

The West Country side are undefeated in their last five matches against Welsh regions in the Challenge Cup though their most recent clash was a knock-out win against Ebbw Vale in 2002.

And they will be up against a familiar face on Saturday with former Gloucester flanker and captain Kingsley Jones now head coach of the Dragons.

Jones led Gloucester to a European Cup semi-final as captain so knows what to expect when it comes to the dedicated home support at his former club.

"Gloucester are bound to start as outstanding favourites,” he said.

"They've lost four on the bounce and I'm not sure how they'll respond to that, it's not really acceptable to lose at Kingsholm, the supporters really don't like that.

"They were beaten by Bath there, and if we get off to a good start, we'll try and put them under pressure and see how they respond.

"The Gloucester fans may be a bit more anxious than they would be if they hadn't lost the last few games."

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