Gloucester Rugby host London Irish at Kingsholm in Round 20 of the Gallagher Premiership on Friday, a fixture which sees supporters return to the stands under the lights. Ahead of the fixture, George Skivington spoke to the press.
On Bristol Bears result
“From our point of view, we’ve had a good last period of games. We didn’t get what we wanted out of Bristol, we wanted to play 15 vs 15 and it would have been a nice benchmark against the best team in the league. We didn’t get that but I thought the attitude was great.”
On recent performances
“I think we’ve been building quite nicely and with three games of the season left, the challenge is to see how well we can play and how consistent we can be. A lot of the hard work has been put in over the last 10 months and there have been some big shifts in certain areas and I think we are seeing it start to come together.
“Within the group now there’s a real trust about what we’re trying to do and there’s a real understanding about what we’re trying to do and I think that’s why in the last few games it’s come through a little bit.
“The challenge for us is to see what we can deliver in the last three games and hopefully end the season with some real confidence and get a good preseason in after a break.”
On fans returning and managing how to players react to them
“Most people are excited about having fans back. The game on Monday, it really was loud! You could feel the impact of it, particularly in the warmup. For me, that’s the biggest part. From when the crowds haven’t been here, it was a noticeable part. Just when you’re warming up, it’s a real buzz and it gets you quite excited.
“It was definitely a little bit of a shock to the system on Monday when people cheered when you’re running out or Bristol fans obviously cheering for Bristol.
“I think most players will thrive having the crowds back in. It’s been a long time and it’s a massive part of professional sport, having the atmosphere and the supporters, it becomes like an extended family. I think most lads will thrive.
“There will be a few young lads for sure that this period has been a nice opportunity for them to come in and play top flight rugby without the pressure of a crowd cheering or booing you either way. I think the majority of players will really be buzzing to have supporters back in.”
On final push
“I always knew that the systems and the processes would take time. We’re nowhere near being the finished article. We know we’ve just scratched the surface but there is now that understanding across the board.
“You’d love to be rolling into the play offs and have the potential of playing a few more games but it is what it is. We know exactly what we’ve got to play and that probably gives us a nice focus point to say let’s have three good training weeks and keep building this until the end.
“We know we’ve got a long way to go as a team but let’s make sure these last three weeks are proper building blocks and not just getting the season done to get on with next year. That’s certainly not the attitude.”