GLOUCESTER scrum half and Jimmy Cowan is confident performances on the pitch will improve in the second half of the season.
The Cherry and Whites lie ninth in the Aviva Premiership and have been knocked out of the Heineken Cup in the group stages, although a 36-18 win at Perpignan secured their place in the Amlin Cup quarter-finals.
Former All Black Cowan said: “It’s been a tough season to date. We didn’t forecast being where we are in the table now at the start of the season but the good thing is we are only at the half-way point so there’s still plenty of rugby to be played to rectify where we are.
“We’ve got plenty to work on but we know what we are capable of. It’s about sticking together and building on our foundations and hopefully you will see our game grow over the rest of the season.
“Going into the season we had high ambitions of finishing in the top two but that is out of our control now. Realistically now top six is our goal and so we’re aiming for that as a group.
“There are only eight points difference between us and fourth place so if we put some performances together going forward we can finish well.’
After six and a half months out with a knee injury the World Cup winner, who has more than 50 All Blacks caps to his name, is glad to be back playing.
He said: “I’m back now to full health, touch wood, and looking forward to the rest of the season.”
Cowan is also keen to see many of his Gloucester teammates compete in the RBS 6 Nations next month.
He said: “I’ve always kept a close eye on the 6 Nations tournament. I have been a big fan watching it and I take a special interest in England because a lot of young players in our side play for them, like Billy Twelvetrees and Ben Morgan. Those boys are showing what they can do and it’s great to watch.
“It’s a great competition and very hard to choose one team to that will win it.
“Ireland have really come on, Wales won it last year, France are always dangerous and then you have England.
“The 6 Nations will be a special year this year because everyone is working towards the World Cup in 2015.”
As Mitsubishi Brand Ambassador, Cowan was speaking as he collected the keys to his new Mitsubishi ASX Auto.
Mitsubishi Motors in the UK has been involved with Gloucester Rugby since 2006, as shirt sponsor and corporate sponsor.
It also backs the Mitsubishi Golden Gamble, which offers fans the chance to win tickets and a chauffeur driven journey in a Mitsubishi Outlander to an away game.