TOP BAR - Fixtures

Willi Heinz urges Gloucester Rugby to finish with a flourish

Willi Heinz wants to banish memories of a rollercoaster Gloucester Rugby season with some champagne rugby in the final round of regular Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures.

The Cherry and Whites righted their ship last week after a promising 13-10 win over Wasps at Kingsholmthat had been preceded by five successive Aviva Premiership Rugby losses and a Challenge Cup upset at the hands of Newport Gwent Dragons.
 
Former Crusaders scrum-half Heinz has played 15 times in the league for David Humphreys’ side this term and formed a new half-back partnership with Greig Laidlaw last week against Sale, the Scotland Captain turning in a superb performance out of position at fly-half.
 
And that partnership is set to continue this weekend as Gloucester look to finish the season with a third win on the trot against Northampton Saints at Kingsholm on Saturday.  
 
“The last couple of games have taken steps in the right direction and we have put in performances which might not have been really pretty, but they were tough, tough wins and we’re proud of them,” the 29-year-old said.  

“I thought we attacked really well for large patches of the match against Sale, we didn’t quite manage to get one across the line, so hopefully we can do that this weekend.
 
“We are under no illusions about how hard it will be, but we’re up for it and hopefully the sun will be shining on Kingsholm and it will be a full house we can climb into our work.
 
“It has been a pretty up and down season, there have been some good results but there’s been a frustrating patch in that back half of the season where we have let our season down really.
 
“It’s nice to see that there’s a bit of grit and determination in the group – I think we have showed that in those last couple of performances.
 
“Hopefully we can finish on a high note.”
 
An outside chance remains that the West Country men could qualify for the Champions Cup, but they must win this weekend and hope that Harlequins down Jake White’s Montpellier in the European Challenge Cup final.
 
For Heinz, Northampton represents a chance to start laying down a marker ahead of next season but he knows Jim Mallinder’s side are similarly eager to move on from a season short of their own high watermark.  
 
He said: “Going into this game is just about taking another step forward again, obviously a top six or seven place is unlikely, but you never know what is going to happen so for us it is about going out there and putting in a performance that signifies the way we want to play going into next season.
 
“Saints have has a bit of an up-and-down season as well, I am sure they would have liked to be in that top four. Traditionally they are a team that are at the top of the table, so we are in for a massive challenge.
 
“They have got threats right across the park, a very competitive forward pack who scrum and maul for penalties and get them more often than not and then some really attacking backs.”

If you want to be at the world's biggest club rugby final, this year's Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 28 May at Twickenham, tickets are available from premiershiprugby.com/final.

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