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Weekly Update from Chief Executive Officer, Lance Bradley

Weekly Update from Chief Executive Officer, Lance Bradley
Weekly Update | 10 July

Hello, and welcome to this week’s update.

It’s been another busy week at our Club. The players have moved into Stage 2 of their training preparations as we get ready to resume playing matches on August 15th. You may have seen the pictures we’ve posted showing what that looks like, with George Skivington now taking the lead on training.

I’ve spoken to a few of the players and it’s clear they’re really enjoying the new training regime. There’s much more structure than had previously been the case, and we’re building towards a much greater focus on specific skills and game play. Furthermore, our Head of Performance, Dan Tobin, and our Head of Analysis, Darren Lewis, are now fully involved in supporting George to ensure we’re in the best possible position to turn around what has until now been a disappointing season.

We’re all really looking forward, as I’m sure you are, to resuming the season and showing what we are truly capable of.

You will also have seen that Rory Teague left the Club this week. Rory is a great coach, and we wish him all the very best in whatever he chooses to do next.

It’s quite normal that a new Head Coach will want his own team around him, and we have been working on that. One of the key things that we want to focus on is our Academy. We have some excellent people working in our Academy, lead by Peter Walton. Walts’s reputation within the game is second to none, and you will be aware that he was instrumental in the success of the England U20s while he was with the RFU.

One of the things we want to change is the connection between the Academy and the first team. We want to make sure that we have a long-term strategy which sees better links between the two operations, and that there is a clear pathway between the two. In the past we have lost talented youngsters because they have not understood when their opportunities to progress to the first team squad may come, nor what they should expect in terms of playing opportunities. The number one priority for any player is playing rugby, and ultimately to play for the first team.

Our new set up will ensure that those youngsters that George and Walts feel are talented enough to represent our Club are fully aware of their opportunities.

With that in mind I’m pleased to announce some changes to the way the Academy will operate. Firstly, Tim Taylor will be taking on a new role in leading the transition between the Academy and the first team. Tim has been with our Club for ten years as player and coach. His experience and skills will be invaluable in helping develop our youngsters and ensuring a seamless transition once they’re considered ready. It’s a signal of how seriously we’re now taking our Academy that a coach of Tim’s caliber will now be such a significant part of it.

To further cement the links between the Academy and the first team Tim will also be coaching skills and kicking for both the Academy and the first team. Our other first team coaches will now also be working with the Academy on a regular basis.

I’m also pleased to announce that we have signed a new attack coach to support George. We expect to be able to announce details next week, but we’re very excited by his agreement to be part of our new set up, and I’m sure you will be too.

This week also saw Gerbrandt Grobler leaving our Club. Somewhat frustratingly, I’ve seen that some news organisations have described this as part of an ‘exodus’ from Gloucester Rugby.

The Covid-19 crisis has put huge strain on economies and organisations across the world. Rugby has been particularly hard hit as we have been unable to play since March, and that has had a very serious impact on finances everywhere. It has cost us somewhere in the region of £5 million.

At Gloucester Rugby we have been ahead of the game in managing the impact. We have made some very difficult decisions, but I know that those decisions were essential to ensure that we have a viable and successful Club for the future.

We know that a player’s career is relatively short, and some players have decided to pursue more lucrative opportunities in Japan or France. The players who remain, however, are fully committed to what we are trying to achieve, which is to challenge for trophies.

Other clubs have also lost players, and our strategy has meant that we have lost fewer players than the majority of other clubs. To put this into perspective, here are the numbers of players who have left Premiership clubs:

  • Bath – 16

  • Bristol – 18

  • Exeter – 9

  • Gloucester – 9

  • Harlequins – 15

  • Leicester – 27

  • London Irish – 13

  • Northampton – 13

  • Sale – 11

  • Wasps – 4

  • Worcester - 5


 

It should be noted that the only two clubs who have lost fewer players than us arguably had the smallest squads to start with.

We are well aware that there are a couple of positions we need to strengthen, and we have been working on this. We expect to be able to announce details shortly. I should also remind you that we have players in our backs who are the envy of every other club.

I can assure you that we will have a fully competitive squad to allow us to challenge for trophies.

On the commercial side of our Club we have made some significant progress in developing some important new relationships. It’s a sign of the confidence these businesses have in our plans that they want to be part of our plans going forward. Again, we will be announcing these new partnerships shortly.

The changes that we have made will, I’m sure, see us restoring our traditional values and challenging for trophies. We really appreciate your support, and we look forward to welcoming you back to Kingsholm as soon as we can.
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Sat 28 Nov
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Wasps
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