Califano refuses to take Bourgoin lightly
December 11, 2007

Christian Califano, Gloucester Rugby's celebrated French prop who saw Heineken Cup action with Toulouse and Agen before he joined the West Country giants, is warning his table topping team not to make the mistake of thinking the second part of the double header against Bourgoin is as good as banked.

Bourgoin are nine points adrift of the Pool 2 pace setters but Califano is ideally qualified to sense the job is only half done.

Gloucester have two of their remaining three games at their Kingsholm fortress - against Bourgoin on Saturday and then in Round 6 against Ulster Rugby with the trip to Wales to face the Ospreys looking the major threat to their automatic quarter-final qualification.

"I know that Bourgoin have not been as competitive in the Heineken Cup over previous years as they might have been, but they gave us a really hard game in Round 3 and we are expecting a big return match in Kingsholm this weekend," he said.

"I have known Bourgoin for many, many years and it's a club and a team I have enormous respect for. There is a great deal of quality there.

"Obviously the first thing we are looking to try to do is secure qualification for the quarter-finals but a home draw in the knock-out stages would be great for us and that is definitely in the back of our minds as we get ready for this week's match."

The 31-7 try bonus away win puts Gloucester firmly in control of their own destiny and they will relish being back in front of their vociferous supporters.
"It's true that the weather in the first leg really suited our game - we are well used to playing in the rain," said Califano.

"Although I think Bourgoin are also used to the wet weather, I think that it prevented them from playing the expansive game they seemed to want to play and that is something we are very aware of looking towards the return leg.

"They had several chances to score but their handling suffered in the rain and if the weather is fine this weekend I think they could be very dangerous.

"Bourgoin are a very strong and physical team with a lot of experience between them and I think the return leg will be a lot tighter than people think.

"They have a very strong pack and their backs are very well marshalled by Benjamin Boyet - I think it will be a tight scoreline on Saturday.

"However, I was very pleased with the way the forwards played at Pierre Rajon, we were very focussed and everyone put in 100%.

"Having said that, it wasn't all perfect and we certainly have some things to look at before the match next weekend.

"The biggest worry is that we picked up a few injuries, and we were already missing some of the guys for this game, so I guess we'll have to take stock of who is available and take things from there."

HEINEKEN CUP 2007 / 2008
(All kick-offs LOCAL times)


Pool 2 Ulster Rugby v Ospreys 20.00 Malcolm Changleng (S) Sky Sports
Pool 4 Biarritz Olympique v Glasgow Warriors 21.00 Nigel Owens (W) Canal+ Sport / Sky Sports***

Pool 1 Newport Gwent Dragons v Benetton Treviso 14.30 Andrew Small (E)
Pool 1 Perpignan v London Irish 16.30 Carlo Damasco (It) FR2 / Sky Sports***
Pool 2 Gloucester Rugby v Bourgoin 15.00 George Clancey (I)
Pool 3 Cardiff Blues v Stade Français Paris 13.35 Wayne Barnes (E) S4C** / Canal+ / Sky Sports
Pool 4 Viadana v Saracens 14.30 Peter Fitzgibbon (I) Sky Italia
Pool 5 London Wasps v ASM Clermont Auvergne 17.30 Alain Rolland (I) Sky Sports / Sport+
Pool 6 Edinburgh v Leinster 15.30 Tim Hayes (W) Sky Sports / RTE**

Pool 3 Bristol Rugby v Harlequins 15.00 Christophe Berdos (F)
Pool 5 Munster v Llanelli Scarlets 13.00 David Pearson (E) Sky Sports / RTE**
Pool 6 Toulouse v Leicester Tigers (Le Stadium) 16.00 Alan Lewis (I) FR2 / Sky Sports

* Delayed ** Highlights *** Live via interactive


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