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Gloucester Rugby: Molenaar aims to 'finish off' French rivals in payback for Hazell

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 18, 2013

Andy Hazell

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'EMOTIONAL' Gloucester are ready to teach Mont de Marsan a lesson in clinical rugby – to avenge banned team-mate Andy Hazell.

Centre Tim Molenaar admitted the Cherry and Whites are preparing to grind tomorrow's French opponents into submission at Kingsholm (kick-off 3pm).

The Gloucester squad still feel aggrieved at evergreen flanker Hazell's treatment in their 11-6 October victory over Mont de Marsan in France.

The 34-year-old was rightly sent off for unloading a flurry of punches, angrily reacting to alleged eye gouging.

But Gloucester were incensed no action was brought against the Frenchmen at Stade Guy Boniface, for their alleged extreme unsporting and unsavoury action.

Hazell has never sought to exonerate his actions, and will be available for selection again from Monday.

A try bonus-point victory tomorrow will ensure Gloucester a home quarter-final in the Amlin Challenge Cup.

Kiwi strike-runner Molenaar (right) said Gloucester are determined to take the moral high ground tomorrow and brush their French Top 14 opponents aside.

The 31-year-old former Nottingham centre explained: "There's definitely going to be an element of emotion to this game, one of our players has been out for 14 weeks because of what happened out there.

"So we really want to finish them off at home.

"We need to use that as a motivator, but also make sure we don't go out there and sink to their level, or take matters into our own hands.

"If we can finish them off as a team and feel happy with what we do on the rugby front, demoralise them as much as possible, then I think that would be enough for everybody – and potentially for Hazey as well.

"So we'll certainly be looking to make our point through the rugby.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get our game together and they won't be able to live with us.

"We don't want to lose anybody else to anything silly, on account of one person's actions.

"If anything were to happen again, then hopefully the officials will spot it and deal with it.

"And beyond that, we've got to make sure we don't let any of that faze us."

Bullish line-breaker Molenaar impressed in last weekend's 31-26 Bordeaux victory, becoming increasingly prevalent as the match drew on.

Molenaar has been a fixture in European action, but is craving more regular Premiership chances – and is comfortable to play whatever role required.

He continued: "Time on the pitch is what creates form, and you need that, and a certain level of consistency with a number of players around you too.

"It was good to get a run and try to get my way into the action in the second half as things progressed.

"If they want to pick me for the bench or to start, I offer a completely different dynamic from the playmaker side of things.

"Tinds is similar to me I suppose, and with Trinder coming back now too it mixes up options and combinations.

"The two centre roles are very different and I think some people maybe don't realise just how different they are.

"But I'm happy with either.

"You get a lot more space at 13 – but then space isn't always what you need.

"Sometimes you've got to go through the middle, that was the way last weekend and I would expect it to be the same again on Saturday.

"It's more combinations really, I was comfortable playing 13 with Eli (Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu) at 12.

"Inside centre I find a bit easier defensively, it's sometimes more obvious who you need to hit, and then you can carry straight through the middle on the front foot hopefully too.

"But the main thing is where you get used to as things move forward.

"I don't really have a preference and I'm happy to play wherever needed."

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  • Newilldon  |  January 19 2013, 9:15AM

    Yep! Nigel Davies is no mug. He knows who his best men are in each position. When it comes to tight head he consistently selects Harden to start in the key games. That says it all really.

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  • CrunchMan  |  January 19 2013, 9:00AM

    Rupert Harden = Gloucester Rugby's top rated tight head and there is no doubt about that whatsoever.

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  • richardpenton  |  January 19 2013, 8:46AM

    It's over to Woody and Dawidiuk to save our scrum and hold the front row together against Mont de Marsan. It won't be easy without our first choice and most talented tight head - Rupert Harden - but I am sure they will give it their best.

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  • werew  |  January 19 2013, 8:41AM

    I'm looking forward to Rupert's recovery and his return to bolster the front row. I guess in the meantime we will just have to struggle on with a weakened scrum.

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  • jasonbennett3  |  January 19 2013, 8:36AM

    I am really looking forward to when our top rated tight head prop - Rupert Harden - returns from injury to bring the scrum back up to strength.

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  • fuddlebagley  |  January 19 2013, 8:35AM

    Rupert may be out injured but he will be back and Nigel Davies, who happens to know about these things, will return Rupert to the starting line up where he belongs because he is Gloucester's best front row player.

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  • chuycastillos  |  January 19 2013, 8:33AM

    It is a real shame that our best and top rated tight head, Rupert Harden, is unavailable for today's game against Mont De Marsan because of injury. Nick Wood and Darren Dawidiuk (and their replacements) will now really have to step up to save our front row from being demolished.

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  • LarryOfLevens  |  January 19 2013, 8:31AM

    If we are really fortunate, Rupert Harden will be back for the Premiership games before too much more damage is done. You can't leave out your best tight head and one of Gloucester's key players when he is fit.

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  • Nick_Iewis  |  January 19 2013, 8:27AM

    Harden has been having a storming season. It is no wonder he has been selected to start the most games of all the front row forwards. And not just any old games. It has been the key games where you need your best players.

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  • CrazyLegs  |  January 19 2013, 8:24AM

    Rupert Harden is an utterly brilliant tight head and Nigel Davies knows it, hence 9 Premiership starts.

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