Skivington says his side must embrace physical challenge against Castres

Skivington says his side must embrace physical challenge against Castres

The Cherry & Whites return to European action on Friday evening, with Castres Olympique coming to Kingsholm in the Round of 16.

Director of Rugby, George Skivington, says knock-out fixtures at ‘Holm are always special.

“Obviously it’s knock-out rugby now, back at Kingsholm, so we’re really looking forward to getting into the game.”

The two teams met earlier in the competition, when Gloucester Rugby claimed a 35-5 win over the French side in the pool stage in January.

Skivington is expecting a tougher fixture this time out.

“That was quite a while ago now, I think both teams have moved on. We have referenced that game and there’s plenty from that game that we can be better at.

“It’s going to be a tough game, they’ve done some great stuff in their league so it’s going to be tough as it always is when a French club comes to town.”

The DoR is particularly wary of the physicality of Friday’s opponents but says that’s an area of the game his side enjoy.

“They’re a very big physical team and we enjoy the physicality of the game.

“There’s always a slightly different challenge when playing in Europe but we believe in our game and the way we play.”

The Cherry & Whites had a highly successful February, lifting their first piece of silverware in nine years at the Premiership Rugby Cup final, and then winning The Slater Cup for the very first time with their first win at Welford Road in over 16 years the following weekend.

However, their run was halted by local rivals Bristol Bears on Saturday, who put on an impressive attacking performance at Kingsholm. Skivington says his side’s poor defence played into the hands of their opposition.

“Defensively we weren’t quite good enough. We lost too many collisions, missed too many tackles and against Bristol particularly you don’t want to miss tackles because of their ability to move the ball and take advantage of that space.”

It wasn’t all doom and gloom for Gloucester, who scored three well-taken tries in the first period, and with some players returning from injury, he’s confident his side have enough to finish this season on a high.

“There was lots of good stuff in our attack and there were a couple of world class moments from individuals in Josh Hathaway and Santi Carreras particularly.

“We have a few guys that haven’t featured too much this season, so it’s been nice to see them out the last couple of weeks.

“It’s great to see some more bodies out here and to see some big names coming back into being involved and hopefully we can get a good amount of game time out of them in the back end of the season.”

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