UNLIKELY as it may seem after their indifferent season, Gloucester could yet win some silverware in 2014.
It is a point not lost on outside centre Henry Trinder who returned from a groin injury to play a starring role in the Kingsholm outfit’s biggest win of the season – 36-5 – over London Wasps on Saturday.
Playing just the first 40 minutes as scheduled, former Cirencester RFC product Trinder scored two tries and laid the foundations for the comfortable victory.
Winning this last LV Cup pool game emphatically could not seal Gloucester a place in the competition’s semi finals but Trinder and his team-mates know that their big game of the season comes on Sunday, April 6 against Saturday’s vanquished opponents Wasps in the last eight of the Amlin Cup.
Back in early November, when Trinder was again in the starting line-up, Wasps came to Kingsholm and won 32-30, but the centre insists the Cherry & Whites are a different proposition now.
“In that earlier game, we not only missed a lot of opportunities but we conceded tries immediately after we missed them,” said Trinder.
“On Saturday, it was a big win but it could have been even better. There were chances that we did not take and we also let them have a soft pushover try.
“I think we are showing a massive improvement from the early part of the season and we are starting to get the wins we want.
“On a personal level it was great to get 40 minutes and I felt good afterwards – and good after training on Monday.
“My out-and-out speed has not quite come back yet but it will. And luckily I didn’t have to make a lot of tackles.”
Playing down his role in the two tries, Trinder added: “They both just bounced up for me – they were opportunist tries.
And then reflecting on the Amlin Cup quarter final in a couple of months, he said: “It is surprising to find that we are still in the mix for some silverware and that game is going to be very important to all of us.
“Although it will be played at Wasps next time, it was a huge confidence boost to beat them so well on Saturday.”
Trinder’s latest injury setback denied him the chance to play in some of the major Heineken Cup matches and he was unable to prove his fitness in time, having been chosen for the England Saxons squad.
“It was tough to miss the big European games,” he said. “The Munster game was a massive miss and I returned just too late for the Saxons. Unfortunately, both were out of my control."
Trinder also had words of consolation for two Gloucester team-mates who were both involved in international action over the weekend.
Ex-Stow star Elliott Stooke was involved in the Saxons’ 16-16 draw with Scotland A.
“Elliott has made a big step up this season and has been one of the top performers for Gloucester,” said Trinder.
“He’s a great ball carrier for a big lump and he is an intelligent rugby player.”
Jonny May, meanwhile, won his second cap for the full England team at the Stade de France but his involvement lasted less than 10 minutes after suffering a broken nose.
“Jonny has probably been Gloucester’s outstanding player and it was tough on him to get such an injury.”
But the setback – at one time it was thought he may also have fractured his cheekbone – was not as bad as first feared.
May, who played his youth rugby at Wootton Bassett RFC, has been declared fit to play against Scotland in Saturday’s Calcutta Cup encounter, should he be required.