After a two week break in fixtures, Gloucester Rugby are back in action this Saturday and host Northampton Saints at Kingsholm for Round 7 of the Gallagher Premiership.
Ahead of the game, Head Coach George Skivington spoke to the press and opened up on the break, the threats Northampton will bring and the impact of losing Six Nations players.
Using the two week break effectively
“We took the opportunity to give the boys a break. We’re one of the few teams who haven’t had a break this season so it was a good opportunity to rest a few bodies and then address a few things that we feel we need to keep pushing really hard.
“It was a good opportunity to have conversations when there isn’t the pressure of a game at the weekend and allowing everyone to express themselves and some younger players to really dip in and try to understand what we’re trying to achieve and how we’ll get there.
“We’ve used the time as well as we can and we’re looking forward to the Saints game at the weekend.”
“The conversations have been great and the halfbacks and the leaders on the field are really embracing the challenge and the discussions from a coach’s point of view have been great. You don’t get too many opportunities in the season if you’re playing games back-to-back so it was a nice week from that point of view.”
Facing Northampton Saints
“Every game in the Premiership is a hard game so it doesn’t really matter where someone’s sitting in the table, it’s a tough game no matter what. From that point of view we prepare for every team the same, do as much homework as we can and get our game on point and then try and turn up on the Saturday.
“Saints haven’t had a game in a little while but they’re a good team. They’ve got some really good players and they play good attacking and expansive rugby. They got a couple of tries through their set piece against Worcester as well. Just like everyone else in the Premiership, they’re a serious threat.
“There’s no underestimating them from our point of view.”
The impact of losing international players
“We lose quite a few boys to the Six Nations but we knew that was coming and it’s a unique season for that in that the internationals aren’t going to be around for a lot of the season. We’ve always known that was coming and we’ve had a lot of opportunities to play a lot of young guys up until now, some through choice and some through circumstance. We’ve ended up using our squad as much as anybody through this period for numerous reasons. We knew who we’d lose, and we’ve planned accordingly.”
On Giorgi Kveseladze
“He’s arrived now so he’s in the training programme. He’s only been in for a couple of sessions so he’s been getting to know everyone and getting to know where he is and the plays and all the rest of it.
“He’s an exciting prospect for us and it will be interesting to see what he can do.”