Gloucester Rugby flanker Andy Hazell, who will celebrate his testimonial match against a Bath Rugby XV on August 15th, told the Gloucester Citizen this week that the squad are working harder than ever.
The England international, who has made nearly 200 first team appearances for his home town club, has been impressed by the attitude and commitment of his team mates in preseason training.
"We are working harder than ever because everyone is so enthusiastic. It's not that we haven't worked hard before, but it really is an enjoyable place to be at the moment."
He's seen a few preseasons in his time at the club but is adamant that this one ranks amongst the most enjoyable.
"We have changed a lot of the things were are doing, and some of the emphasis on the way we are looking to play. Everyone is doing things with a smile on their faces."
"(Fitness coach) Mark Bitcon is doing his first pre-season, and with Bryan (Redpath) as Head Coach there's a whole new feeling about the squad."
"There's a really good vibe at the moment. A lot of responsibility has been switched to the players. We're out on the field and in a position to influence things and, if we're not happy with something, then we're encouraged to speak up."
And the fact that Gloucester will face off against Bath twice in a matter of weeks hasn't escaped his attention.
"That'll be interesting! It'll be a bit of laugh and giggles for my game and then I'll want to rip his head off! And the feeling will probably be mutual."
"That's the nature of it and the first Guinness Premiership game of the season being Bath at Kingsholm will be massive. Every year, the first game is a huge one but Bath is that little bit extra special."
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.
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.
Supporters who are still to purchase tickets for Saturday's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Exeter Chiefs at Kingsholm (kick off 7:45pm) are reminded that Early Bird prices are only valid until 6:30pm on Thursday evening.