DODGING flying footwear ranks among one of the more amusing episodes in Guy Mercer’s experience of Gloucester versus Bath clashes.
But the young flanker hopes he can play his part in a performance worthy of silencing Kingsholm’s famous Shed this afternoon.
The former Academy back row, restored to the team following the ankle injury to Francois Louw at London Irish three weeks ago, admits winning the little on-pitch battles during the course of 80 minutes are the key to success at the home of their fierce local rivals.
“That’s your biggest goal when you go up there, you want to dominate Gloucester and shut the Shed up,’’ said the 24 year old.
“All of a sudden it can turn from one of the loudest places in the world to one of the quietest.
“As soon as you hear a couple of people in the crowd chirping at their own players it’s quite a little pat on the back for you.
“If you have a good scrum and a good lineout, it’s a little win for you.’’
The emotions aroused by playing in front of Gloucester’s home support have claimed the temperament of even the best players, but Mercer admits he relishes the challenge.
“Personally, I just like to enjoy the occasion and have a bit of a smile going out listening to it all,’’ he added.
“I had a shoe thrown at me one year while I was warming up, which was pretty amusing. I returned that to the person in the crowd.
“It’s good fun. If you let yourself get too angry and het up you can let it affect your game.
“You don’t get to play in many of these games and it’s a massive privilege if you do, more so if you win.’’
TICKETS to Bath’s Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final against London Wasps at Adams Park on Sunday, April 27 (1pm) go on sale next week.
Tickets are available for season ticket holders from Monday (April 14), followed by general sale from Wednesday (April 16) and can either be brought over the phone by calling 0844 448 1865 or in person at the Pulteney Bridge ticket office.
Tickets will not be available online.
NEWS & REACTION FROM GLOUCESTER V BATH AT WILTSHIRETIMES.CO.UK/SPORT LATER TODAY