Gloucester Rugby travel to Lyon for their first fixture of the 2020/21 European Champions Cup campaign on Sunday. George Skivington faced the media to preview the match earlier on in the week.
“Lloyd Evans and Joe Simpson had minor concussions. They’re ok, they’ve just got to go through the HIA process and get those boxes ticked off. We won’t rush them back into action, we’ll take our time.
“Billy Twelvetrees is a bit more severe. He’s got to have a minor surgery which will take six to eight weeks to recover from. He just got caught awkwardly in a tackle.
“Jason Woodward and Freddie Clarke both pulled up with injuries the session before the game and then Matt Garvey in the warm up so we had to pull Ollie Atkins in from the stand. It was good that he had a pair of boots in his car!
“We lost Jack Stanley at half time. He’s ok he just got a bang on his shoulder and he needs a bit of time to recover from that. Not an ideal week for us.”
How do injuries change the plan going into Europe?
“I wasn’t expecting the bad luck with the injuries that we’ve had in that short window so that’s changed a few bits. It’s not necessarily worrying from a selection point of view because we’ve got some hungry young lads who will get an opportunity and they are keen as mustard to play.
“I’m actually really excited about this weekend because there will be a few lads on the team sheet that get the opportunity to go away in a big European fixture and show what they’re about.”
The European Champions Cup
“It’s a shift in focus. Europe is always exciting because you get on a plane and you go somewhere different and you play a team, I don’t think I’ve ever played or coached against Lyon, it’s always exciting to go against a different opposition.
“It’s a shame there’s no crowds, particularly for some of the younger guys who will get an opportunity, it would have been great for them to have experienced a crowd, especially a French crowd where they are loud and ferocious and that side of it’s a bit of a shame but they still get the experience of going somewhere new, taking on players who they’ve never played before.”
Preparing to face a different team
“Your research in the Premiership is not easy but teams are consistent, and you know the players and if you’ve been around long enough you’ve got a general feel for how teams are going to play. In the French league, we’ve watched Lyon’s last few games and they’re a big, physical team with some big names in there. It’s slightly harder to predict what’s going to come because like us, they might change their selection.”
Results are key to success
“It’s crucial. The change of format means that you have got to win or it’ll be over pretty quickly and that’s always the objective when you’re playing anyway. We know we’ve got a handful of games and we’re excited for the weekend because it is an opportunity in a different tournament and an opportunity for different players to put their hands up.”