Gloucester Rugby travel to Welford Road on Saturday to take on Leicester Tigers who are top of the league.
Ahead of the fixture, George Skivington sat down to preview the game.
On bye week
“We didn’t have a game last weekend so it gave us an opportunity to get some good training in and have a few hard sessions around some areas that we feel we need to sharpen up on. I think the Exeter game exposed a few bits that we wanted to get better at and we’d been discussing those bits in the background. It’s quite hard with the games flowing week in week out, you try and correct certain things but you’ve got to keep the rest of the game going as well.
“A bye week, without a game, just gave us an opportunity to revisit a few areas and a few principles. The boys worked really hard and we feel good in and around those areas.”
On Leicester Tigers
“It will definitely be a tough test. They are the best team in the league and they are rightfully at the top of the table. They’ve played some really good games and they’ve dug in and got through a few games when they probably weren’t as pleased with their performance. They’re a really good team. Steve (Borthwick) and his team are doing a great job and they are in a good spot.
“From our point of view, it’s an exciting challenge. We get to go to Welford Road, which will be a good atmosphere and we get to test ourselves against the top of the league.
“We’ll do our best, prepare well and go up there and embrace the challenge and get to see where we’re at.”
On Mark Atkinson’s return
“Aki has been unlucky. Going into this period we hoped that he’d get a few more caps and he’s still on the periphery for that but he’s back with us this week training and he’s come in with a really positive attitude. He loves being here and he’s a huge part of the squad and it brought a lot of energy when he walked in through the door.
“There was lots of banter with the boys and he’s training really hard and is leading by example. From our point of view, we’re glad to have him back but I still hope he gets more England caps.”
On the tight nature of the league
“Leicester are the only team that are safely at the top and are almost safely in the play offs really. Away from that, it’s pretty tight, certainly from where we are down to 8th, I think there’s about seven points in it. The league table could chop and change and it could look very different by the end of the season.
“From that point of view, I’ve never thought there was much point in looking at the league table because I’m fully aware of how quickly things like that change. It’s obviously nicer to be at the top end rather than the bottom end but it’s more about performance for us and getting better and that’s what we’re trying to do week to week and that’s what we will continue to try and do until the end of the season.
“If that puts us in a good position, that’s great but as long as we’re a lot better at the end of the year than we were when we started then we’ll be in a good spot.”