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Weekly Update from Lance Bradley, Chief Executive Officer

Weekly Update from Lance Bradley, Chief Executive Officer
Weekly Update | 19 June

Hello and welcome to this week’s update.

It’s been another busy week, not least because the senior players returned to training on Monday. It wasn’t quite what everyone had been used to, with one-way systems, full PPE kit for staff and small groups of no more than eight, with two metre social distancing. But it was a return to training, and the start of a return to normality.

I visited the training ground on Wednesday and it’s fair to say everyone was buzzing at being back in some kind of training regime again. The players had of course been keeping themselves fit during the lockdown, but it’s not the same as being back in Hartpury.

Eoin Power, our head of medical and also our designated ‘Covid lead’ has done a great job, along with many others, in making sure we were fully compliant with the appropriate protocols to ensure we could go ahead with this Stage 1 training.

We are in frequent communication with Premiership Rugby (PRL) about how and when we may move to Stage 2 as we progress through the five stages towards full contact training. We are confident that we will be able to progress sufficiently to meet the planned date on which we are due to restart the 19/20 season, on August 15th.

At this time we still don’t know for sure whether the games will be played at a neutral venue or not, nor whether they will be played behind closed doors. We are cautiously hopeful, however, that we may be able to play at Kingsholm, and we are exploring every opportunity to open up to fans as soon as it is deemed safe to do so. As soon as we have more information we will let you know.

In my last update I outlined the options for fans who have paid for memberships for the remainder of this season should it not be possible to play games with fans present. I have to thank you for the overwhelming response we received to this.

The first option we put forward was to contribute towards our new training facilities, and over 90% of you who contacted us suggested that that is what you would like to do should it become necessary – thank you so much. It’s no secret that the Covid crisis has had a severe effect on our finances, and your support in this matter is hugely appreciated.

We are in the process of finalising the details of the new facilities, and I look forward to being able to share them with you in the next few weeks.

You will also be aware that we are in the process of recruiting a new Head Coach. We had over 70 applicants for the position, and we’re well on track to make an announcement in early July, as we promised.

I’ve also had a few people asking me about our squad going forward. The fact is that when we had to reduce everyone’s salary by 25% it meant that we were at risk of some people choosing to move on to secure themselves more money elsewhere. We have to accept that in the professional game there is that possibility.

I can confirm that we will have a small number of departures. What this means, however, is that we have the opportunity to bring in new players and re-sign current players on longer contracts. It also means that there will be increased opportunities for players who have come through our Academy, and I know it has been a source of frustration that some of our Academy graduates have left the Club through lack of game time. We all like to see players come through the Academy and establish themselves in the first team squad once they’re ready to do so, and this will be an increasingly important part of our strategy moving forward.

We will be able to provide you with more details over the coming days.

There’s no doubt that these last three months have been extremely challenging, and I thank you again for your support during this time. Within the Club, however, there is a real sense of excitement about the future. I look forward to being able to share it with you fully once I am in a position to do so.

Finally, although we never respond to rumours, I’m obviously aware that there is a lot of gossip around from podcasts and so-called news sites. Much of it is absolute rubbish. I’d like to remind you that the best way of staying up to date with what is actually happening at your Club is to sign up for our newsletter. You can do so by clicking here.

Best wishes


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