Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and Tim Molenaar spoke to Rugby Club about Gloucester's revival.
Last Updated: 11/02/10 6:59pm
It's the centre pairing that has helped revive Gloucester's fortunes - and might just spur the side onto a top-four Premiership spot.
Samoan Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu and Kiwi Tim Molenaar may have arrived at Kingsholm from Bath and Nottingham respectively, but they are no strangers to each other having played for New Zealand Universities on a tour of Japan eight years earlier.
Together they have been hugely influential in breathing new life into Gloucester's flagging season and - against the odds - the club now finds itself in the LV= Cup semi-finals and last-eight of the Amlin Challenge Cup.
"The effort from the lads is incredible - they don't give up," Molenaar told Rugby Club.
"I haven't been in a team where you can be 20-25 points down and still be optimistic about winning. They never lie down."
Head coach Bryan Redpath puts part of Gloucester's transformation down to a no-nonsense approach in the dressing room and a heightened sense of collective responsibility.
"We sat in a room at the end of December as a group and said 'it's not good enough'. They had to say that, not me. They had to say it - I can't beat the drum and say it's not good enough.
"So we sat down and said some things that we needed to solve and we did. I still believe we will push for this top-four [Premiership] slot.
"I firmly believe that. There are 10 Premiership matches left. I don't want to go away from that top-four slot. It will be tough for us to get to because of where we have been in the last two months but why are we not going to give ourselves a chance?"
A never-say-die approach has helped Gloucester to four straight wins, featuring no less than 13 tries, and Redpath is determined that the same ethos is carried forward into the club's Cup campaigns.
"To get into the knockout stages is great because we all know that knockout games are totally different from the Premiership.
"So we've now given ourselves a chance but we all know that quarter-finals and semi-finals are nothing to a final.
"Unless we back that up we will still be seen to have failed in a big game and that will hang over us because of the past. We've got to change some of that."
With Sir Ian McGeechan working at the club in an advisory capacity that big-game mentality is likely to flourish and Rugby Club expert Stuart Barnes believes Gloucester fans have every reason to look to the future with optimism.
"I like the way Bryan Redpath is talking now; he seems to have grown into the position and I like the fact that there seems to be a passion about Gloucester again," he said.
"A couple of months ago I was forlorn because I have got a great respect for the traditions of Gloucester rugby and it seemed to be dissipating.
"Now they are fighting for everything and they are playing with no little street-wisdom as well. They do seem rejuvenated. I don't know whether it is McGeechan or Redpath but the whole club seems on the move again."