By his own admission Shane Monahan has more reason than most to catch the eye when Zebre visit Kingsholm on Sunday.
With two wins from two in the European Rugby Challenge Cup so far, Gloucester Rugby are already eyeing up a spot in the knockout stage of the competition.
But while victory against their Italian visitors is the top priority, Monahan knows this weekend is a golden opportunity to prove his worth to the Cherry & White hierarchy.
Despite finishing last year’s Aviva Premiership Rugby campaign with four tries in two games, the winger has not seen a minute of league action this term.
He sat on the bench for 80 minutes last weekend as Gloucester returned to winning ways with victory over London Irish and, handed the No.11 shirt for Zebre’s visit, Monahan is determined to make up for lost time.
“Game time has been very scarce for me this year,” said the 27-year-old. “At the end of the day you want to be playing in the Premiership and you want to be playing in Europe and that is why I’m very excited about this weekend. It’s just up to me to go out and put in a performance.
“It’s very important that we do get the win to build on our win last weekend. We want to get into the quarter-finals and we want a home quarter-final.
“We were quite disappointed with regards to results and it was a big thing to get the win. Irish have been struggling a bit but it’s never easy to go down there and we were very happy with our defensive performance.”
Gloucester’s clash with Zebre is the first of two in seven days, with the Aviva Premiership Rugby side flying out to Italy the following weekend.
Monahan knows the Stadio XXV Aprile is a tricky venue – both Ulster and Edinburgh have been beaten there this season – but maximum points at Kingsholm on Sunday will put them in a commanding position in Pool 5.
He added: “We have been going really well in Europe and we are looking forward to the next games – we are looking at a home quarter-final.
“Zebre are a funny one really. They didn’t have the best start to the season but they are definitely starting to grow now.
“They have got some big ball carriers and some big Fijians in the pack and that is something we are focusing on, but the main thing is we have been concentrating on ourselves and what we can do to exploit their defence.
“We go into every match with the same preparation – it doesn’t matter who it is.”
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