Director of Rugby Alan Solomons spoke to the media ahead of Sunday’s Premiership Rugby Cup match against Wasps.
Here’s what Alan had to say…
On reaching the European Challenge Cup quarter-finals
- It’s great for us as a club to have a home quarter-final. It’s a massive thing for our supporters and for the club as a whole.
- We seem to have perfected the art of the last-gasp victory and that engenders a very powerful positive effect on the team because they know that even with a limited amount of time left in a game they still have the ability of winning it and they have the capability of doing so.
How is everyone after a week off?
- Apart from players rehabilitating from injuries and some of the staff involved in that we were able to give everyone in the rugby department an eight-day break.
- We started pre-season in June and the season itself has been going since September 1 and we have been going hammer-and-tongs since then.
- Everyone has come back refreshed and we need to look at giving some rugby to guys who haven’t played for a while.
- Players need to get away and recharge their batteries. We have practised well this week, there has been a lot of energy and that is probably down to the break.
- We don’t know exactly what sort of side Wasps will put out but we expect it to be a pretty strong one.
- They can’t qualify for the semi-finals so this will be their only game before we start the next block of Premiership matches.
On the Premiership Cup as a competition
- It’s been a good competition. At times we have utilised it to prepare for Premiership games. Against Saracens we had the opportunity to give our younger players a run. There are positive features to it.
- The Premiership is our priority but we feel that we have got the strength in depth to be competitive in all competitions.
- We already have a home quarter-final in Europe and we have the opportunity if play well on Sunday to secure a home semi-final in this competition.
- The extra games are good for the squad overall. They do give an opportunity to all players to play. Everyone has been able to get some rugby in a period when we have had no Premiership matches. We have done that and been successful and it leads to a feel-good factor in the club.
- Nick Schonert has recovered from his sternum injury and has trained this week.
- GJ van Velze has also trained this week and is fine.
- Michael Fatialofa will probably not be considered this week. He’s tracking nicely but he took a bang on the shoulder.
- Perry Humphreys is not ready yet. We will see next week how he is tracking when we may or may not be playing. Hopefully he will be fit to play against Harlequins.
- Jamie Shillcock is also a couple of weeks away.
- Jono Lance has had a couple of weeks back in Australia but he will be back next week and he should be ready to play.
- Kai Owen suffered a thigh injury training with England Under-20s but he’s back training with us again.
- Cornell du Preez will have further scans in the next two or three weeks but he is running and we are pleased with the progress he is making.
Carl Kirwan’s loan with Ealing Trailfinders
- Carl hasn’t had a lot of opportunity here in the Premiership side. He has come back from injury and this gives him an opportunity to play on a regular basis.