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."
Willi Heinz scored Gloucester's second try as the Cherry and Whites overturned a disappointing first 40 minutes and 0-6 half time deficit, to earn a 26-18 Aviva Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby on Saturday.
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.
Talk about a game of two halves. Things looked grim on Saturday as Gloucester trailed 0-6 to Bristol at half-time. However, Matt Scott's eighth try of the season got Gloucester off and running, and the visitors fell apart as the Cherry and Whites eased to a 26-18 bonus point Aviva Premiership win.