Paddy Anson reflects on first day of preseason training
27 June 2014 11:32am
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."
Speaking to the local media this week, John Afoa described the hard work that the Cherry and White have been putting in and that he is fighting fit ready for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi final clash with Exeter Chiefs.
Gloucester Rugby face Exeter Chiefs this Saturday in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final, and Charlie Sharples, who starts at full back is relishing the challenge of the big Kingsholm occasion.
Gloucester meet the Exeter Chiefs for the fourth time in competitive action this weekend, this time in the semi-final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the local media this week that this is the sort of game that Gloucester want to be involved in on a regular basis and that he and his team are looking forward to it.
Following the 29-26 loss to Harlequins, club captain Billy Twelvetrees spoke of his disappointment that the Cherry and Whites were unable to cash in on the home side's indiscipline and lose a lead on Saturday afternoon.
Number eight Gareth Evans admitted to a collective feeling of frustration as Gloucester lost narrowly at Harlequins on Saturday, but insisted that there are plenty of positives to draw upon ahead of next Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter.
Gloucester travel to the Stoop on Saturday afternoon to take on Harlequins in the Aviva Premiership. The Cherry and Whites make just two changes from last weekend's win over Connacht as they seek consistency and continuity in their play as Nick Walshe told the local media this week.
The Gloucester Rugby Ticket office can advise that the club's initial allocation of tickets for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final has sold out. However, the club has secured an additional allocation of tickets from EPCR which will go on sale on Monday.
Following Saturday evening's exciting European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final victory over Exeter Chiefs, the Ticket Office at Kingsholm will be open on Sunday from 11am to 3pm for Club Members to purchase tickets for the Final.
Gloucester Rugby qualified for their first European final since 2006 as they defeated the in-form Exeter Chiefs by 30 points to 19 in a thrilling semi-final at Kingsholm on Saturday evening. The club photographer caught the best of the action.
Recent meetings between these two teams have often been thrillers, and this was no exception. It went down to the final few minutes, but Gloucester produced the goods when it mattered to qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final, beating Exeter 30-19.