RUGBY is at its most dangerous just when you think you've cracked it, Nigel Davies will warn buoyant Gloucester this week.
The Cherry and Whites boss is targeting a home quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup after Saturday's six-try 47-3 London Irish hammering at Kingsholm.
Gloucester's rugby director has called on his side to see off Mont de Marsan and Bordeaux in the two remaining pool one fixtures – to hit the last eight with a home draw.
Before all that though, there is the small matter of hosting regimented Exeter Chiefs at home this Saturday – then travelling to unforgiving Leicester Tigers a week later.
A testing fortnight by any Christmas calendar, and Davies will sit down with his squad today, and plot the best way to negotiate two titanic tussles.
Saturday's Exeter clash marks the halfway point in the Premiership campaign.
Davies admits Gloucester are well-placed on both European and home fronts – but will remind his players that all of that can change in an instant.
The former Wales centre explained: "Yes things are going fairly well – but those things can be taken away from you very quickly indeed.
"I'm aware of that now, and we're gong to fight for every little inch.
"We've got some huge games through the festive period, we're looking forward to them.
"And we've got to make sure we don't drop back.
"It's a huge game against Exeter, they're a good team, I've spent a bit of time watching them already.
"They've played the Scarlets twice, so hopefully I can do a bit of research there, see what's gone on and how the Scarlets view those two games.
"But it's a massive game, they're a good team, they are very confident at everything they do.
"The key thing as far as Europe goes is we've got to target not just a quarter-final spot – but a home quarter-final spot.
"It would be a huge occasion and it would be great if we could do that.
"We've still got a couple of games to make sure we nail in order to do that."
Calling on Gloucester to put Saturday's victory aside without delay, Davies said he is pleased with how the Cherry and Whites have battled to expand their attacking game in the last fortnight.
Back-to-back European victories over Irish have given Gloucester total control of their Amlin Challenge Cup pool: the Kingsholm men top the group, seven points clear of the Exiles.
Gearing up for a bruising return to league action this weekend, Davies continued: "I'm very pleased with the result and pleased with elements of the performance, we've got to take that.
"That's a huge result, a huge statement and it maintains the momentum we've got going into a very crucial festive period.
"So all those things are very positive, but as far as we're concerned the game's done now, we've done what we had to do and we've got to get heads on for Monday.
"We've got a massive week and a huge match at the end of it.
"The process of expanding our game has gone very well.
"We haven't seen the best of us yet that's for sure, there's a long way to go with this side.
"In the first 20 minutes we probably tried to overplay in the wrong areas, we put ourselves under pressure.
"But I was expecting that to happen at stages.
"What we did then was realise that, and we managed territory a little bit better.
"When we got past one phase in their half we came away with points."
Hailing powerhouse wing Shane Monahan's four-try haul, Davies said the Irishman is one of Gloucester's most dangerous attacking talents.
He added: "He's great with the ball in hand, one of the best players we've got on that front and very effective.
"So credit to him there, it was a great return for Shane and it's reward for his hard work.
"But it was a big team effort and he was on the end of a couple of those tries created by other people."