Gloucester Rugby's Gallagher Premiership season gets underway with an away trip to Franklin's Gardens on Saturday. Ahead of the fixture Ollie Thorley previewed the fixture and reflected on pre-season.
On returning to Premiership action
“It’s been a couple of months without competitive rugby and I think the boys area ready to go. During pre-season is when your body feels the best and you’ve made a lot of gains. It’s great from that perspective but you don’t get to test yourself. It’ll be really good for us as a squad to test ourselves against a Northampton team who will be confident coming into this.”
On the off-field benefits of pre-season
“I think that’s been the biggest thing this pre-season. Building that comradery within the team. We hadn’t had any team social occasions over the past 18 months because of COVID which was hard. Particularly when you have a lot of new boys come in and you want them to integrate into the squad.
“This summer we’ve had a chance to do that and we’ve had the opportunity to learn about Gloucester and the club. Being here at Kingsholm, we feel more connected to the city. There’s been lots of positives and now we know a little bit more about the players we’re playing with, it makes playing alongside them just that little bit more meaningful. You know what makes them tick and all these things enhance the squad and hopefully our performances.”
On Northampton Saints
“They’ve got threats all over the pitch, which is a bit of a cliché, but I really think they do. Since Chris Boyd has taken over there, I think they’ve been playing a really exciting brand of rugby. They like to throw the ball around a bit but equally they’ve got a lot of good kickers like Furbs (George Furbank) and Mitchell (Alex). They are very good kickers of the ball and I’m sure they’ll manage the game well. We’re well aware of their threats and we respect those to a certain degree but we know what we can bring as well and we’ll try and take it to them.
“Last season, one of our strongest performances was away there so hopefully we’ll be able to replicate that.”
On the return of the Gallagher Premiership
It’ll be amazing. With fans as well. It was an incredible turn out for the home Ealing game, it almost felt like a mock Premiership game but there’s always that added spice for a Premiership game and an added tension. You can feel it in the air, it’s palpable, as a fan but as a player even more so. I’m excited to feel what that is like again with 15,000 people or however many it is at Franklin’s Gardens.