James wary of backlash

First published in Sport by

WITH Gloucester Rugby flying high this season and London Irish sitting second from bottom, it would seem as though the Aviva Premiership rivals' Amlin Challenge Cup clash is already a foregone conclusion in the Cherry & Whites favour.

But Gloucester lock Will James insists nobody at Kingsholm is thinking like that ahead of their trip to London - wary of an Exiles backlash at any moment.

While the Cherry & Whites continue to impress this season - even despite a narrow 28-23 loss to Saracens last time out - it has been a different story for London Irish who head into this European break sitting second from bottom in the Aviva Premiership table.

And ahead of back-to-back Amlin Challenge Cup clashes things don't look like getting any better for the side from the capital with Gloucester having already down Irish 40-31 this season.

But lock James is adamant no one at Gloucester is heading to the Madejski thinking the game has already been won - far from it.

"We have already beaten Irish this season and we might be at opposite end of the table but we are taking nothing for granted," he said.

"Irish haven't been having the best time of things this season, as everyone can see, but that doesn't mean they are still not a dangerous side.

"They will probably be fielding a 100 per cent team in terms of first-team players as they will be eager to turn their season around as quickly as possible.

"And we don't want to be the team that gives them that helping hand so we will head there wary of that and looking for the win ourselves.

"Yes we have already beaten them but it was a close game and we just pipped them at the end. London Irish have dangerous players and are always physical, especially at home, so we will be ready for that.

" It isn't just the Aviva Premiership where Gloucester have been flying high this season, with two wins from two already under their belt in the Amlin Challenge Cup against Mont de Marsan and Bordeaux-Begles."

And the 35-year-old insists both competitions should continue to be held with high regard this campaign.

"Nigel Davies is taking the Amlin Challenge Cup very seriously this season and that is how it should be done," he added.

"Whether it is the Premiership or the second tier of European rugby, this club wants to win and we are building that mentality this season and we want to continue it in whatever competition.

"There are still some very physical sides in our group with the likes of London Irish and Marsan so they are still good tests and ones we can learn a lot from."

Aviva are proud to be title sponsor of Aviva Premiership Rugby - one of the world's leading rugby union competitions. Each season will feature 135 games, which will be watched by 1.7 million people live at the grounds and many more through our broadcast partners Sky, ITV and ESPN - visit www.premiershiprugby.com

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