Taking a welcome break following a weights session under the watchful eye of Gloucester Rugby's strength and conditioning team, new Gloucester Rugby signing Tom Voyce reflected on preseason to date and how it feels to be back in the West Country.
Winger Voyce joins Gloucester for the 2009-10 season from Guinness Premiership rivals London Wasps.
Eager to hit the ground running as he embarks upon his Gloucester career, Voyce confessed that he'd been amongst the first group of players reporting in for preseason training.
"I came back early to start training because I didn't have any post season tours to go on and I wanted to get back early and get ahead of the game."
"I'm glad to have done so because I've had chance to get in the gym and put a little bit of weight on which I can then trim down ready for the start of the season."
The England international wing has, of course, been on summer tours with the national set up in the past but is feeling the benefits of a short break from the game before reporting back.
"It has happened in the past, for example, when I moved from Bath to Wasps and I had the summer off. I think it's benefitted me a lot because I recharged my batteries and then reported back early with some of the other boys."
"When you come back late, for whatever reason, you can feel as though you're playing catch up but I'm not in that situation this year."
Originally from Cornwall, it was just down the road at Bath Rugby where Tom kicked off his professional rugby career, spending six years at the Rec before moving to Adams Park and he admitted that he'd jumped at the chance to move back West.
"It's fantastic to be back in the West Country, I'm really enjoying it. I've always been a bit of a country guy and my family are from these parts and obviously there's a bit of history with Gloucester with my great uncle."
"I'm really pleased to be back, I'm looking forward to the challenge and hopefully bringing something to the table in terms of my own personal contribution."
Having spent the majority of his time so far at the training ground at Hartpury and, with the preseason friendlies now only weeks away, Tom was asked about the prospects of playing in front of the Shed.
(Laughs) "When I've played at Kingsholm before, with Wasps or with Bath, I've always had an interesting reception!"
"But I've loved it really, in front of the Shed, I love that kind of banter and you tend to cop a lot more when you're playing out on the wing! Especially if you drop a high ball when they tend to let you know about it."
"But, if you play well, they'll clap you off the pitch and that's what rugby is all about. It's good to see those traditions still going on. I've got a lot of work to do but, hopefully, I'll win them over and they'll be cheering me."
And, reminded of the fact that he could be facing one of his former clubs, Bath, sooner than he might have expected.
"Bath is going to be exciting and it's probably the best time to play them I guess. We have them at home and Kingsholm is a tough place to come to."
Finally, Tom paid tribute to the programme that's been put in place so far.
"I think probably that this is the best preseason I've been on. I've worked with Mark (Bitcon) before at Wasps and he's an outstanding fitness coach."
"I think everyone has put on a couple of extra kgs of muscle and we're now moving onto the fitness. There's been a steady progression and I think it's gone really well."
"It's been a good mix of things and the level of intensity had definitely increased from the start of June to where we are now."
"I'm really looking forward to the training camp in St Andrews because that'll be really full on and that'll be when we really start to learn a lot about each other as players."
"It won't be easy but that's the whole point of the week and the hard work that we do now will hopefully be reflected on the pitch when the season gets underway and the camaraderie will come through."
"The week off will be a welcome rest leading up to the Bath game. It's weird because normally you're glad it's over with the season being so long."
"But the first month is quite nice because you haven't got a rugby ball in your hands and now we're just itching to play games. It's good to see that the whole squad has got that buzz about them."
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).