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Newcastle clash will be our cup final - Thomas
10:02am Thursday 27th March 2014 in Sport
IN the wake of our last-kick defeat to Wasps at Sixways on Friday night, it was the most hollow we have felt all season.
Naturally, as players, we were all absolutely gutted afterwards, but there was plenty of sympathy from our fans who waited around to say how they felt for us, but that is how ruthless sport can be.
If we are being harsh on ourselves, though, we had dominance in that game and we should have made sure we were more than seven points ahead of Wasps going into the final minutes. But, if we leave ourselves within a score of our opponents, we risk that happening to us.
That is being hyper-critical, because it was one of our best performances of the season, but the simple thing is we are playing Newcastle this weekend and, mathematically, it is still possible to avoid relegation. We will keep giving it our best shot for as long as we can.
One of our main issues this season has been not backing up good performances – like the one against Wasps – in the following game and not maintaining the same levels of intensity and emotion.
We have come so far as a team this season and, if you look at our performances over the last half-dozen games, they have been right up there.
Every game is a cup final for us now and all we can do is go to Newcastle on Sunday and try to get the win up there. If we can do that, we will just take it from week to week from there on in.
I personally believe we are not the worst team in the league at the moment, so there is a point for us to prove. As we were at the start of the season, I couldn’t say that, but we have come such a long way since then.
I didn’t see all of the comments Dean Richards made about Worcester last week, but I’ve heard some of them. I’m not really sure what his motives were for saying those kind of things, but it was a daft thing to say.
Anyone who knows David Lemi knows that, although he is getting on in years a little bit, he still looks after his body and there has been absolutely no sign of his performances dropping this season.
It was the type of comment that comes from someone who clearly hasn’t watched David playing this season.
Regardless, our motivations ahead of this weekend’s game are far larger than a few throw-away comments.
Defensively, we have come on a hell of a lot so far this season – we are looking so powerful as a unit, but we still have a tendency to give away soft penalties, which costs us important field position.
We have worked so hard on that and we can now put a lot of trust and faith in each other. We are playing with a lot more confidence now, especially out of our own half and attacking from deep.
Ryan Lamb has to be credited for giving us more confidence to play and he talks to the team so well to get us organised out on the pitch.
At the start of the season, Newcastle were very forward-orientated, but their game has evolved and to score four tries at Kingsholm last weekend shows they are playing with plenty of width.
We don’t want to end up playing a Baa-Baas style match at Kingston Park on Sunday, because we believe our performance levels are really good at the moment and we need to go there and give them as few chances as possible.
Then, we can look to the the likes of David, Ryan and Chris Pennell can produce the magic for us to win the game.