With the opening round of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership lurking around the corner, Gloucester Head Coach George Skivington and Club Captain Lewis Ludlow look ahead to Leicester and take a moment to reflect on the shortest pre-season in history.
Robert Rees brings you the best bites from their press conferences.
Why Ludlow for captain?
George Skivington (GS): “He poses questions at the right time and he’s right on the brink of international duty. He was in camp the other week. He’s the right man for the [captaincy] job.”
Typically, in years gone by, Gloucester have had very few players away on international duty. However, they saw five Cherry and Whites line up over the weekend. Despite losing some crucial players, Skivington believes it helps the squad grow as a unit, saying, “it allows us to try different combinations and we’ll be ready for when those lads come back. The guy behind you is pushing hard and it’s a good challenge.”
GS: “We’ve got certain goals, but we’re not nailing down a specific position or saying finish here.”
GS: “I used those games [last season] to get to know everyone and vice versa. It’s very hard to get anything going if you don’t know each other. We won’t be making any excuses. It’s going to be an interesting year with no weeks off. It’ll be dramatic one week to the next. It’s going to be a full squad effort, more than ever.
“We’re putting boys under pressure in training in those areas. It’s painting a picture of what we want on the pitch and what we expect in these areas.
What to Leicester bring?
GS: “Their game plan won’t change. Steve (Borthwick) is a good coach.”
GS: “We need more consistency in our performances. We didn’t play for 80 minutes last season and we didn’t quite manage to stay in games.”
Win a key starting point
GS: “The boys have stepped up to our challenges and it’ll be key to start with a win, in a long and relentless season.”
Gloucester consider reinforcement…
With Jake Polledri out for “months” the Gloucester coaching setup are considering reinforcements….
GS: “We’ll look at these next seven months and if we’ve got enough cover for him. We’ll look to chat about replacing him later today.”
Skivington confident game goes ahead
Despite more Covid worries within a camp, this time Leicester’s, Gloucester are confident that the game is going ahead, but are only focused on their camp.
GS: “I’m trying not to worry about their camp. They’ll be well organised and we all want to play. We were all gutted when that game got called off last season.
“We’ve had 3 weeks of good training sessions. We’re in a really good spot and everyone understands the game plan.”
Gloucester ready to utilise more academy talent
GS: “Some of the academy players have been exposed quicker than they’d normally be. We’ve fast-tracked a couple of player by a few years, and they’ve stepped up.”
No more signings planned
Other than possible cover for Polledri, Skivington confirmed the club has no plans to bring anybody else onboard. “We haven’t got anymore set plans to bring anybody in.”
Atkins’ arrival is imminent, but he won’t feature for a few weeks yet. “He’ll get here tomorrow, and then go through Covid process. He’ll start training next week.”
Ludlow proud to be captain
Lewis Ludlow (LL): “I got told on Tuesday and dad was the first person I rang. He never misses a game. When my agent sat down it was a goal.”
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