Director of Rugby Alan Solomons spoke to the media today ahead of Friday’s Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final against Saracens at Sixways.
Here’s what Alan had to say….
On reaching the knockout stages of another cup competition
- We said that our primary focus is the Premiership but we felt that our squad was good enough to be competitive in all competitions and we have been able to do that which is very positive.
- We have a home quarter-final in the European Challenge Cup and a semi-final in the Premiership Rugby Cup which is good for the squad as a whole and for our supporters.
Incentive of having a home final to play for
- We are going to do everything in our power to win this game.
- Our aim was to do as well as we possibly could in every competition in which we play and the fact that we have home knockout games in two competitions is brilliant.
On the Wasps win
- We played some good stuff in the first half but we didn’t finish any of our opportunities. We were only 9-8 up at half-time despite having 76 per cent territory.
- In the second half we were less dominant but every opportunity we had we scored.
Another win after being behind
- We are certainly resilient. Confidence gets engendered by the fact that they have played a number games where we have had to come back from behind to win the game.
Having a home semi-final
- It’s massive for the club, our supporters and the club. It will be a great occasion.
- They are a very good side. We played them in our pool, we both finished on 16 points and we had a better points difference.
- The other two semi-finalists had 15 points and Saracens have ended up as best runners-up so we play them again.
- They are a very good side. I respect what they have done over a number of years and whatever team they put out will be a good team.
Looking ahead to return of Premiership
- There is a five-day turnaround for this game and we start a Premiership block next week so there has to be some rotation and there will be an opportunity for a number of players.
- At least we then have an eight-day turnaround before we go to Harlequins.
On signing Graham Kitchener
- He’s a guy who grew up here, he came through the Academy and played in the first team before he went to ply his trade with Leicester.
- The fact that he has decided to return home speaks volumes of the direction we are heading in as a club.
- It sends out a very powerful message that he will be back here and playing with his brother, Andrew, as well.
On Conor Carey’s signing
- He’s English-born and has done well for Connacht. We have kept our eye on him and had very positive feedback.
- He will benefit from working with Mefin Davies who is an outstanding scrum coach.
- Nick Schonert definitely will not be considered this week but should be fit for Harlequins.
- Callum Black dislocated a finger against Wasps but he should be OK for this weekend if he is needed.
- Michael Fatialofa is not 100 per cent ready yet. He’s taking a full part in practise but we will probably wait another week.
- Perry Humphreys will not be ready to face Saracens but hopefully will be ready for Harlequins.
- Jono Lance returned from Australia and he has trained this week. We will see how he tracks in practise.