Gaskell seizing his opportunity

James Gaskell has enjoyed a run of starts in the second row recently and he is looking to make the starting shirt his own.

With a competitive grouping of locks, which includes international stars like Joe Launchbury and Bradley Davies, as well as the likes of Kearnan Myall, James Cannon and Will Rowlands, Gaskell has had to fight for every minute on the pitch so far this season.

However, with seven starts in eleven appearances so far this season, he says he is enjoying the competition at the Club.

“I’m loving it at the moment. Joe [Launchbury] and Bradley [Davies] are massive international players who perform week-in-week-out for their countries so it has been nice to get that run of games in a starting spot recently. Hopefully I can seize that opportunity and keep enjoying my rugby. It’s good to play in such a competitive group. Brad and Joe are two of the best in the British Isles so I’ve enjoyed playing and training with them. With Kearnan [Myall], JC [James Cannon] and Will Rowlands as well there is a great group of locks here who can really push each other.”

“You just have to look at the quality in and around this group. It’s not just the 23 on a match day, it’s the whole squad of 40 or so players we have here. We pride ourselves on what we can bring, it’s just about getting that consistency of performances. If we perform well on the day we will trouble any team it’s just making sure we get that week-in-week-out.”

Last weekend, the side went down 38-15 away at Sandy Park to an in-form Exeter Chiefs side, and Gaskell says there is a bitter disappointment that the team didn’t do themselves justice.

“The whole game we weren’t really at the races and we feel like we let ourselves down off the back of what was a clinical performance against London Welsh. A few defensive errors gave the game away. We created a lot in attack but didn’t quite finish them off. All in all it was a pretty disappointing day.”

“They have made Sandy Park a great place for them to play and you can’t give them that sort of lead and expect to come back in the second half because they are too good for that. We have a good opportunity this weekend to right some of the wrongs from that game in what is another tough challenge on the road.”

“Leicester away is always one of the fixtures you look forward to. Sides tend to raise their game when they go there, it is a side you want to beat away from home, so hopefully we do that. They are a side who are starting to come good after going through a rough patch and it will be a tough clash.”

“We’ve raised our game against some of the best sides in the league already this year with big performances against Northampton and Bath. Hopefully we can do that again this weekend. If we can put pressure on them, bring the defence we produced in those other fixtures and finish off the chances we create, we know we will be there or thereabouts come final whistle.”