TOP BAR - Fixtures

No need for New Year change at Kingsholm

No need for New Year change at Kingsholm

The beginning of a new year is traditionally when people set resolutions with the aim of bringing around significant change but for Gloucester Rugby and Willi Heinz they are hoping things remain exactly the same at Kingsholm.

In 2015 the Cherry and Whites lost just one of their competitive home matches, and even then October’s 17-15 loss to unbeaten Saracens came courtesy of a late Owen Farrell penalty.

David Humphreys’ men have since won their last four matches in all competitions on their own patch and they will be looking to carry on that run when they host second-from-bottom London Irish in Round 8 of the 2015/16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season.

Heinz will occupy the No.9 jersey on Saturday when he will come up against an old friend in former Crusaders team-mate and New Zealand international Ben Franks.

The 29-year-old, who joined Gloucester in the summer, said: “We lost one game at home in 2015 and we don't want to lose any more in 2016.

“It's going to be a full house and while the crowd doesn't win you the game, they're a huge part of it.

"We want to go out there and do our people proud and there's no better an opportunity than Saturday.

“We feel the set-piece is starting to function a bit more consistently so we feel we are making good strides there, and from an attacking point of view we are building more phases and have the right balance between playing with the ball in hand and playing for territory.

“We have to keep building but it is such a tight competition that a win or loss could see you move from the top half to the bottom half of the table very quickly.

“We are under no illusions that we have to keep working each day so we can put in a performance that we are really proud of and hopefully it gets the result.”

Heinz was an unused substitute last weekend when Gloucester and Harlequins shared the spoils at Twickenham after an enthralling 39-39 draw.

It was also a memorable weekend for Irish and new head coach Tom Coventry after their first league win of the season moved them off the bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table.

Heinz said: "The boys put in a pretty good shift last week but obviously there was a bit of disappointment around the fact that we couldn't quite close out the game.

"We had a couple of chances when we got ten points ahead but Quins are a quality side and they did well to get themselves back in the game.

"But we're looking to take the momentum we created last week into this week and Irish will be a tough prospect. They had a good (25-23) win against Northampton last week so they'll be confident.

"They have had some close losses and 6-0 wasn't a reflection of where they were before last weekend. They have quality players throughout their side, good coaching staff and as you saw last week, they are much better than the table suggests.”

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