Jimmy Cowan believes Gloucester Rugby’s new-found Aviva Premiership title credentials will be put to the test like never before on Sunday as they take on Saracens in front of the Sky cameras.
After finishing last season with six-straight defeats the Cherry & Whites have turned things around this campaign, sitting third in the table heading into round ten.
And even though Cowan and co head to Vicarage Road as the form team in the Aviva Premiership, having picked up 21 points from their last six matches, the Kiwi scrum-half is taking nothing for granted.
Cowan’s trepidation is understandable given his club’s history against Saracens, the Cherry & Whites not winning at Vicarage Road since November 16 2008 and the London club unbeaten in their last four clashes with Gloucester.
But despite being wary Cowan isn’t about to admit defeat any time soon – far from it.
“We are on a good run at the moment and have put together some good results but no doubt that will all be put to the test against Saracens,” he said.
“I have only been in England for six weeks but I already know what Saracens are about and just how good a side they are.
“They have a lot of South Africans in their team and that normally means you are in for a physical encounter.
“Saracens are a tough bunch of guys and are hard to beat, especially at home, but it is a challenge I am looking forward to and one all the boys want to front up to.”
While Gloucester are the form team in the league Sarries have slipped to back-to-back defeats in all competitions.
However Vicarage Road has been a happy hunting ground for them, losing just one Aviva Premiership clash there in their last 17 games, and Will Fraser is excited about the test Gloucester will provide.
“Gloucester are on a good run of form at the moment, they are climbing up the table and there’s no doubt it will be a huge test this weekend,” flanker Fraser said.
“They have been very good in the scrum over the past few weeks and they’re excellent in the set piece and especially the line-out.
“They have some very sharp and skilful backs as well so our defence will have to be massive, but if we get back to how we know we can play then we’re confident of getting a positive result.”
Referee: Sean Davey (111th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege, Kevin Stuart. TMO: Graham Hughes.
(Vicarage Road, 3pm)
Live on Sky Sports HD