Gloucester Rugby travel to Ashton Gate to take on Bristol Bears in Round 19 of the Gallagher Premiership on Monday. Ahead of the fixture, Head Coach George Skivington spoke to the media to preview the game.
On Northampton victory
“Lots of things did go right. I thought there were areas in the first half, and we’re obviously always going to pick it apart, that we thought we could do better but it was a good performance for us. We are very much back to business this week. It’s not like we’ve completed it, we just took a step forward and managed to execute an 80 minute game plan. We’ve got a really good group here and the first thing on Monday morning, there were players coming in thinking about what we could have done better.”
On building momentum
“It’s nice when you get a performance like that and all the hard work and sticking to the plan works. You can see what a tight group these lot are now when they’re playing together. It’s nice to get the reward for the hard work but we’ve had a lot of performances not that dissimilar to that which we’ve fallen the wrong side of and that’s just been about keeping the faith and keep working hard. It’s not going to be like it was last weekend every weekend that’s for sure. It’s nice to get the feeling and the reward for the hard work.
“We didn’t do anything different compared to what we’ve been doing the last six months. It’s just about getting better all the time and understanding the importance of every little thing that we do and the importance of creating standards and driving each other hard. We didn’t do anything different I just think that slowly but surely we are getting better and better and I think the standing grows."
On Bristol Bears
“Bristol are top of the league and they’re playing some fantastic rugby. Pat Lam has built a brilliant squad who put brilliant systems in place that make them extremely hard to analyse and play against. They’ve obviously got some high-profile players, but Bristol is a lot more than that. Their set piece is extremely strong and what’s impressive is that with the systems that Pat has put in place, it doesn’t matter who comes in and plays. They can just fill the spot and they know what they’re doing and they’re accurate. There’s a lot of guys in the Bristol team who don’t get mentions but Pat gets the absolute maximum out of them and from a coaching point of view, that’s what I find most impressive.
“There’s no doubt about it. If you give Bristol an inch, they’re going to take it and they’ve got a very complete game which means you have to be on your toes for 80 minutes because you can’t switch off in any area because they are very accomplished across the field.”
On Gloucester Rugby’s threats
“We’ve got lots of good players here who would worry the opposition. I think that our biggest threat is that we’re a collective unit and we do work extremely hard. We’re at a very different stage to Bristol but we’re starting to get ourselves together and there’s a variety of ways that we can score tries and we showed that at the weekend. We’re making those strides forward and obviously on our team there are guys that you don’t want to give space to because they can do some damage as well.
“I know 100% that Pat would have ripped us to pieces and worked out how they’re going to break us and I think it will make for a good game.”
On supporters returning to the stands
“It’s brilliant, obviously we can’t wait to be in front of our supporters again but I think just as a step forward, hopefully we’re on a pathway now to getting full stadiums again which we’re all really excited about. That’s obviously why a lot of clubs have got together and said let’s shift the schedule, whether it’s our stadium or yours, let’s just make it happen and let’s get the supporters in.
"We know the crowd won’t be on our side but we’re excited about having some noise and I think it will be very humbling to get people back in the stadiums. It’s been a long time and we had that little dabble but then they went away but I think there’s a real appreciation of what we do and why we do it. I’m looking forward to feeling the passion from our supports especially but equally, sometimes the hostility from other supporters is just as exciting for the players when they are running out.”