Press Notes 02.03.21

Head Coach Jonathan Thomas spoke to the media today ahead of Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Bristol Bears at Sixways (kick-off 5.15pm).

Here’s what Jonathan had to say:

On the Gloucester result

  • It was very disappointing. We are finding new ways of losing.
  • It’s another game that we should have won. I thought we were very dominant in the first half, which is always the challenge against a physical team in a local derby.
  • We got ourselves into a good position at 14-5 but got a couple of our exits wrong, they scored two tries in quick succession and although we made a number of line-breaks we didn’t finish them.
  • I can’t fault the effort of the players, they are trying their best for the team and for the club and I am proud of the work that they are putting in. It’s just about being more accurate.

Is the losing run a concern?

  • When teams or organisations go through a period of change there is always a messy middle and that is the stage we are at right now.
  • We are clear about the direction we are going in and there are a lot of positive things happening behind the scenes.
  • In the medium to long term we are in good shape.

Has the confidence of the players been affected?

  • Obviously if you are losing you are not going to be on top of your game in terms of confidence.
  • But the spirit in the squad is very good. Culturally we are strong and tight as a group. Obviously it would be even better if we were winning.
  • We are not happy that we are losing but we know that the path we are on is the right one and we are confident that we will come through this.

How do you get that message across to the players?

  • I remind the players – although some of them probably don’t believe it – that, back in the day, I used to play as well so I know how they are feeling.
  • I had a lot of good times in my career – four Celtic League titles with Ospreys, two Grand Slams and Triple Crowns so I know what success looks like. But I also have also played in teams that have failed or gone through adversity.
  • The big mistake is to have emotional ups and downs. If you are going to be emotional you have to be consistently emotional.
  • We understand the frustrations of our supporters, and we are also massively frustrated that we are not winning games. But there are processes that we need to go through to get better and come through the other side. Emotional buzzwords mean nothing.
  • The whole club is very well connected, from the owners, Peter Kelly, Solly and the commercial side. The lines of communication are very strong and everyone shares a common goal.

On facing Bristol

  • It’s another great opportunity for us. We showed a few weeks ago against Exeter how tight the margins are in this competition whether you are playing Gloucester at the bottom or Bristol at the top.
  • Bristol are on top of their game now but when I went there as a coach they were also in a period of change and they had a messy middle in Pat Lam’s first season in the Championship.
  • There were a lot of average performances and some tough days at the office but that season gave them the opportunity to grow. They had the opportunity to change their culture, their game plan and their recruitment.
  • They are now in their fourth season under Pat and they have got a little bit better every year since they came back up.

Injuries

  • Ted Hill has a neural issue from a sore back which is causing him to lose some strength in a hamstring. We need to look after Ted because we want him to play for the club for 15 years. He’s getting better and hopefully he will play at the weekend.
  • Billy Searle still has some return-to-play protocols to go through but we are confident he will be fit to play at the weekend.