Gloucester: David Humphreys says Challenge Cup is 'significant'

David Humphreys
David Humphreys took over as Gloucester director of rugby in June 2014 after leaving Ulster

Gloucester's European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Connacht is of "huge significance" because of their "disappointing" Premiership campaign, says director of rugby David Humphreys.

Sunday's loss to Sale left Gloucester ninth, 11 points behind Wasps in the final Champions Cup qualification spot.

The Cherry and Whites host Pro12 side Connacht on Friday.

"We knew the European campaign would be something we could take away from this season," said Humphreys.

"It's been of huge significance for the last few weeks with our league position, which is disappointing."

Gloucester's Challenge Cup results
Thursday, 16 October: Gloucester 55-0 Brive
Saturday, 25 October: Oyonnax 15-25 Gloucester Sunday
Sunday, 7 December: Gloucester 35-10 Zebre
Saturday, 13 December: Zebre 16-32 Gloucester
Saturday, 17 January: Gloucester 33-3 Oyonnax
Thursday, 22 January: Brive 20-31 Gloucester

Connacht are sixth in the Pro12, with nine wins and one draw from their 18 games this season.

They finished second in Pool Two of the group stages of the Challenge Cup, while Gloucester topped Pool Four by winning all six of their fixtures.

But Humphreys, who spent 22 years with Connacht's Irish rivals Ulster as a player, coach and director of rugby, expects a difficult contest at Kingsholm.

"Connacht are going to bring a huge physical game to us," Humphreys, 43, told BBC Radio Gloucester. "Under Pat Lam they have developed a lot more of their game - they're a lot more expansive a team than maybe they were two or three years ago.

"But they'll bring a physical edge. And if we want to beat them and if we want to make it a tough afternoon, we've got to bring that to the game."

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