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Press Notes | George Skivington highlights La Rochelle’s big pack as a key threat

Gloucester Rugby host La Rochelle at Kingsholm on Friday night in a knockout European Champions Cup clash.  

The French side currently sit second in the Top 14 and come into the fixture off the back of a 26-11 victory over Bordeaux.

Ahead of the game, George Skivington spoke to the media and opened up on selection for the game, returning internationals and some of the key threats that La Rochelle possess.

On Willi Heinz

“Willi is ok. He took a bang to his calf (against Exeter) and we just thought that it was better to get him off rather than push him through and risk making it any worse. He’s being managed right now but he’s in a good spot.”

On scrum half selection dilemma

“It’s a nice one to have! I thought Charlie (Chapman) did a great job when he came on. I thought he was controlled but he brought some real speed and pace to what we were doing. It was in a controlled manner which is something that he’s been working really hard on and he did a great job. I thought the basics of being a scrum half, his kicking and passing, was brilliant. He sped the game up and obviously got a try so it was a good performance.

“Obviously, Stephen (Varney) coming back from Italy is a boost. He’s had a really good campaign for Italy and he’s just desperate to get out and play for Gloucester Rugby now.”

On players returning from Six Nations duty

“You’ve obviously got to manage these guys. It’s a big deal playing in the Six Nations and it can take a little bit out of you. Chris (Harris) is really hungry and desperate to play. He’s always the first one back in saying that he wants to play so he’s available for selection.”

On La Rochelle

“They’ve got some real strengths and a big pack. They’ve got characters like Will Skelton who’s a seriously big man. We’ve seen when he played for Saracens that he can destroy mauls on his own. They’ve got a very big an efficient pack and an extremely exciting back line. The process that they have, they are very efficient in. There’s a good reason that they are where they are in the French league, second place and they’ve clearly got very good systems and they are effective with it.

“They use their strengths really well is the best way to describe La Rochelle. They worked out who can do what and it’s a pretty star-studded team and I think they’re very well coached from the games that I’ve watched.”

George Skivington looks ahead to La Rochelle