Press Notes | Gloucester Rugby | Gallagher Premiership | R10

16 February 2021

Director of Rugby Stuart Hooper spoke to the media as he looked ahead to Friday’s West Country derby.

After a win on the road against Sale Sharks, the Blue, Black and White return to The Rec under Friday night lights to welcome local rivals Gloucester.

ON LAST WEEK’S PERFORMANCE

Our performance against Sale Sharks was strong. To go up there and score the number of points we did and come away with a win was big for our boys.

It was a huge performance and took an enormous amount of effort all round. Thoroughly deserved and a really good victory for us on the road.

As I said last week, I saw the lads really work for each other towards the end of the Quins game, which was a good reminder to all of us how important that is. That’s what happened against Sale.

We went out with the mindset we’re going to be in it together, mistake or no mistake, we’re going to back each other up. By doing that we turned in a solid performance.

Over the last few weeks the boys have really dug in for each other and realised that the best thing we can do is increase our effort and work for each other.

ON THE LOCAL DERBY

Where we’ve been the last few weeks, having not performed where we’ve wanted but also got the losses, there’s an emotional side to that which you can’t hide from.

This week we got the win so there have been some good areas of focus and good areas to work on about our game, not necessarily the opposition. It’s been a good opportunity to reinforce some of the things we’ve been talking about.

As much as we can talk about things and reinforce them verbally, the biggest reinforcement is through the feeling the guys get on a game day of defensive sets working or attacking shape working.

That’s the greatest reinforcement you can give. We want to build on what we did up in Manchester, here at the Rec and against Gloucester makes it even more exciting.

ON SELECTION

Even though the team performed really well last week, it doesn’t necessarily mean we stick with the same line-up. The debate is still strong. However, the guys did go up there and get a win.

They put a good performance in. We’ve shown you can earn a place in this team – Will Muir has done that, he’s earned his right to be in the team and performed exceptionally well again against Sale on Friday night.

It’s really important that selection is always open and it’s not easy to get in the team, but when you do you definitely get your shot.

I’m looking forward to a strong, healthy selection conversation ahead of the game and it’s definitely good to be doing that on the back of a win like that.

ON MISSING THE SUPPORTERS

As a local derby, this is a match that means a huge amount to our supporters – and Gloucester’s.

It’s probably the match I’d most wish supporters could be there for. They’ll be missed. It’s a derby all the same, it’s still Bath v Gloucester at the Rec and it’ll be a big occasion.

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