Straight from the media session this afternoon, Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper answered questions ahead of our Gallagher Premiership Round 1 match-up against Newcastle Falcons, as the North-East side return to the top-flight.
On aims and expectations ahead of the 2020/21 season
“The season is very different to last, it’s even different to when we started last season. What we thought we were going to get and what we ended up with were obviously two very different things so the key this year is to remain incredibly well planned but also able to react.
“The fact that things might change doesn’t mean that you don’t plan, it means that you probably plan a bit more than usual. We need to be ready for all kinds of eventualities. We have chopped the season down, we have three Premiership games before going into a two week European campaign in December before three more league matches and again two Champions Cup matches.”
On players coming and going to and from International camps
“There isn’t a blanket approach on players coming back and going to international camps and then getting in the team. There are people who are here and train hard but there is competition for places, and it is also about factoring in that individuals needs across the time period of now until the end of June.
“There aren’t any breaks in that time so it will be about manufacturing those breaks for people away from the field, and we feel that is really important. We want them back in and around the squad and playing in the Blue, Black and White as much as possible.”
On squad fitness and condition
“The squad are really good as a collective. We took a lot of pride since restart in their preparation in getting themselves ready to go. We are looking pretty good at the moment from injury, but that is something that we need to stay on top of constantly. We head into the Newcastle game this weekend with a relatively fit squad bar those players away on international duty and we just have to manage that the best we can.”
On Tom de Glanville
“My first reaction to Tom telling me the news surrounding the Barbarians camp was obviously supportive. He is a young man, who we care deeply about at this Club and it is important for us to support him and acknowledge that there were things that were done wrong by him and others.
“I have spoken to Tom a lot since and he has reacted tremendously, he is a great young man with a big future. He will absolutely learn from this and we need to support him through this process. As a second year professional it was a huge opportunity for him to go and experience playing at Twickenham, but he knows that it was a mistake and he knows to look no further than at himself. We will be here to support him every step of the way.”