Press Conference Notes 20.02.19

Director of Rugby Alan Solomons spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Leicester Tigers.

Here’s what Alan had to say:

On the signing of Melani Nanai

  • He’s a fantastic signing for us. He’s a very good footballer. He’s playing for the Blues at 14 but he’s also played plenty of rugby at 15 as well.
  • Michael Fatialofa played with him in the Mitre Cup last year and he said that Melani played a major role in them winning that competition.
  • We have had fantastic reports about Melani and watching the footage you can see that he is a fantastic footballer.
  • We need to see how things pan out as to whether he will be here for the start of next season. Whatever obligations Melani has to the New Zealand Rugby Union he will fulfil them.

On Marco Mama’s contract extension

  • I am very pleased. Marco is an absolutely outstanding player. He’s an invaluable member of the squad and he has a leadership role within the squad.
  • It’s brilliant that he is staying with us. He’s a very, very good pro.

On Tom Howe’s form

  • Tom did really well in the semi-final against Saracens and in the away European Challenge Cup match at Stade Francais.
  • He only had a brief cameo at Harlequins on Saturday but he made a good tackler on their winger and scored a try so he did pretty well.

On the Harlequins match

  • We started poorly. We gave away some soft tries through skill errors and defensive system errors.
    The positive is that we stuck to it and got a try bonus point and we almost got a second bonus point.

On Leicester

  • Leicester have a proud tradition. They are a very physical side, they have a good set piece and they will be pretty direct.
  • What’s happened in the past against them has no relevance on what is about to take place.
  • Each block of Premiership games takes on a different level of importance as the season progresses.
  • This is an important block and we need to produce a really good performance this weekend.

Player availability

  • Ted Hill and Ollie Lawrence will be with us. On a Premiership weekend we have first call on them. In a Premiership Rugby Cup weekend England have first call on them.
  • Duncan Weir trained with Scotland earlier this week but he has now been released by them and he trained with us on Wednesday.

Injuries

  • GJ van Velze has got a fracture to a forearm. We have to wait until the specialist has had a look at the scans. He won’t be playing this weekend.
  • Jonny Arr with a bit of knee problem so he’s not available.
  • Jono Lance is fully fit and he has been training this week.
  • Jamie Shillcock is training fully again.
  • Perry Humphreys is still out.
  • Pierce Phillips has recovered from his foot injury and he is available for selection this week.
  • Dean Hammond has a bicep tendon injury which he sustained in training and he will require surgery.