Until Saturday, it had been an awfully long time since Gloucester had won away to Saracens; more than 4,800 days, to be exact.
And while the Cherry and Whites may one day look back at their 25-24 win as the peak of their season, they’ve already established themselves as a club with a culture few in the Premiership can match.
Culture is a sporting cliche, an overused expression to quantify performance – or the lack of it. Yet it is something players, coaches and everyone else associated with sport cannot seem to stop talking about.
Gloucester have been a side with a fanbase many in rugby envy, a side who own both their stadium and their city’s sporting scene. But they have been chronic underperformers where it matters – on the pitch – for far too long.
This season, however, they’re on some kind of mini revolution. They’re not a side packed to the rafters with internationals nor full of too many household names – outside of the city, that is.
But they’re workhorses, local heroes and role models – something instilled in them by captain Lewis Ludlow and head coach George Skivington.
Gloucester cultural renaissance
Speaking after their win in north London, their first ever at the Stone X Stadium, Ludlow said: “Nineteen trips, I think it was, to come here and we’ve finally cracked it. That’s the growth in this group, this is where we are at.
“We never doubt ourselves, we’ve got a group at the moment where no matter what time of the game it is, no matter what the situation is – and last year we went through so many scenarios of playing with 14 [men], playing with 13, everyone against us – we’ve got a group that go ‘alright, next job’ and we believe in each other.
“You look around the circle now and believe in every single person. We can bring people in, take people out, but everyone believes in each other and it produces results like that.”
And that’s just it, isn’t it? Culture. The West Country skipper has instilled a level of responsibility in everybody, whether you play every week or not; an expectation to perform.
Gloucester have scored more than 25 tries this season from mauls alone and a high percentage of their five-pointers have come off the back of line-outs. These are things drilled in training, practised again and again and again.
“We’ve come out here before, had a plan and stuck to it for 50 or 60 minutes and then you drop off in the last 20 or they had a superstar bench to bring on,” Ludlow added. “It’s a level playing field now and this is what’s happened.
“Every hurdle we get to we say ‘right, next job, our process is this’. We’ve been coached so well to understand every one of our roles.”
Gloucester have long been an enigma of Premiership Rugby, a club almost overflowing with fan loyalty – like Newcastle or Sunderland in the rounder-balled game – but never clicking when it mattered.
But now, whether they’ve peaked or not – and we won’t know that until May – they’re having a stellar season reminiscent of their dominance prior to the professional era, and the league is better for it.