Paddy Anson reflects on first day of preseason training
27 June 2014 11:32
By Duncan Wood
The first batch of Gloucester Rugby players reported back for preseason training on Thursday, and Head of Strength and Conditioning Paddy Anson provided an update after a tough day's work.
The Prince of Wales Stadium in Cheltenham was the venue for some track work on Thursday afternoon, with the various groups of players doing a series of 100m, 400m, 800m and 1500m runs.
Many of the new signings were present, as well as the majority of the existing squad, minus those who have been away with international teams, and Paddy praised the work done so far but stressed there is much more to do.
"I've been pretty pleased with the gym testing today but we still have some progress to make on the track work. That's to be expected as we asked the players to focus on certain areas while they were off.
"We've got five weeks left in this first phase to get to where we need to be, and we'll be putting in a huge effort to get there. The new coaches start to arrive soon, and it's the job of my team and myself to make sure the squad is ready physically.
"But, ultimately, they've all had a good offseason and worked very hard in certain areas, particularly in terms of their strength and power.
"We've deliberately set very high targets for the players to achieve this off season and it will test them. But we aspire to be the fittest team in the Premiership this season, and we won't achieve that without a lot of hard work.
"It's the first day and they'll be glad to have got it out of the way. There's plenty of work to be done, but we'll make sure it's varied and beneficial and I'm very positive about what lies ahead."
It's the first Gloucester-Bristol derby at Kingsholm in over eight years this Saturday (kick off 4:30pm) and, previewing the game with the local media this week, Defence Coach Jonny Bell stressed that, with both teams in the bottom half of the table, they both need the points.
Speaking to the local media this week, Gloucester front rower John Afoa knows the challenge ahead this week against Bristol, and calls on the Cherry and Whites to make the most of home advantage as a determined squad look to bounce back from a narrow loss to Saracens.
Tom Savage speaks to GRTV and the local media as Gloucester went down by 24-20 at Saracens on Sunday afternoon. The second row was disappointed with the result, despite a strong showing from the hosts.
Speaking immediately after the game, skipper Willi Heinz thought that Gloucester had executed their game plan reasonably well and competed hard against Saracens. However, it wasn't enough but the squad will have plenty to work on this week ahead of the derby match against Bristol.
Gloucester may be coming off their best win of the season, the 38-16 victory over Wasps last weekend, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys admits that Sunday's trip to Saracens is an even tougher test.
After a series of contract announcements last week, hooker Richard Hibbard is the latest Gloucester Rugby player to commit to a new contract at the club and told GRTV how much he enjoys playing in the Cherry and White of Gloucester.
A try scorer in the 36-18 Aviva Premiership win over Wasps at Kingsholm on Saturday, Charlie Sharples admitted that Gloucester would enjoy the moment but can't get too carried away. The team got what they deserved but the winger wants these performances to be more frequent.
England Head Coach Eddie Jones has made two changes to his side to play Australia in Saturday's final match of the Old Mutual Wealth Series at Twickenham Stadium (kick-off 2.30pm, live on Sky Sports 2). Jonny May lines up on the left wing.