Lock Alex Craig says Gloucester Rugby will have their work cut out dealing with the plethora of talent at Leinster Rugby’s disposal – but insisted they have the belief to beat the EPCR heavyweights in Friday’s Heineken Champions Cup clash.
Gloucester travel to RDS Arena having produced a superb comeback to beat Union Bordeaux-Bègles 22-17 in Round 1, while hosts Leinster will be buoyed by a stunning 42-10 win at Racing 92.
Despite the quality of their opponents, who are four-time winners of EPCR’s elite competition, Craig says his side will head to Dublin with the mindset that they can overcome any team on their day.
“It’ll obviously be a massive challenge,” Craig said. “Leinster are top opposition.
Comeback complete ✅@charliechapmanc scores the go-ahead try as @gloucesterrugby score 17 unanswered points in the second half to seal an incredible #HeinekenChampionsCup comeback 🍒 pic.twitter.com/K0YxDZsRxM
— Heineken Champions Cup (@ChampionsCup) December 10, 2022
“They’re full of talent right across the board, full of Ireland internationals, stardust players really. It’ll be a massive challenge for us as a squad.
“We’ve got to go into every game trying to win it. I think for us, coming back into the competition, it’ll be a big challenge.
“But we’ve got a lot of faith in the squad, and we know when we get things right, we can beat anyone, especially at home, we back ourselves.
“It’ll be a big challenge, but I think, for us, we need to take each game as it comes.”
✍️ Gloucester Rugby is delighted to announce the arrival of George McGuigan who has signed a long-term deal with the Cherry & Whites.
McGuigan will link up with the squad tomorrow morning.
Welcome to Kingsholm, George! 👋
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) December 12, 2022
Gloucester have been boosted by the arrival on a long-term deal of hooker George McGuigan, who made a total of 30 EPCR appearances in eight seasons for Newcastle Falcons and Leicester Tigers, and was named in England’s training squad in June 2022.
The front-row forward, who has already scored seven tries this season for Newcastle, including once at Kingsholm, will provide immediate cover for Jack Singleton, who sustained a serious leg injury during Gloucester’s 34-19 win over Northampton Saints.
Gloucester head coach George Skivington commented: “It’s a huge coup for the club that we’ve been able to secure someone of George’s talent. While he will provide extra cover in the absence of Jack, he’s with us for the long term, and I’m excited to see the role he can play in helping the club reach its ambitions this season and beyond.”
The game on Friday kicks off at 20:00 (UK & Irish time) and is available to watch on RTE, BT Sport, beIN SPORTS, SuperSport and FloRugby.