Press Conference Notes 31.08.21

Head Coach Jonathan Thomas spoke to the media today ahead of Friday’s pre-season friendly against Connacht at Sixways.

Here’s what Jonathan had to say:

On playing in front of supporters again

  • We are excited to welcome back our supporters to Sixways and we are committed to putting smiles back on their faces.
  • The last 18 months have been difficult for everyone with COVID-19 and supporters not being able to come to games.
  • We want to inspire them and I’m sure the supporters who come to Sixways on Friday will get a very enjoyable game

What challenge will Connacht pose?

  • I have played against Connacht many times in what was the Celtic League and I have a huge amount of respect for them.
  • They are real warriors in terms of how they approach the game. They are a very physical team and they are going to provide us with a great challenge on Friday.
  • They have been playing in the Heineken Champions Cup so they have really come out of the shadows of Irish rugby over the past five or six years.
  • They are a team full of character and it will be the perfect game for us.

With Glasgow Warriors also coming to Sixways next week, is it good to play against different teams?

  • The Premiership is a unique competition but you do get used to playing against the same teams and knowing how they are going to play.
  • In the United Rugby Championship – or Pro-14 as it was – the breakdown is hotly contested so there will be challenges for us around the contact areas and the speed of the game will be quick.

When will Duhan van der Merwe and Rory Sutherland be available?

  • They have got to have five weeks’ mandatory rest from the end of the Lions’ tour so they won’t be joining us for another two weeks.

How has pre-season gone?

  • It’s been really enjoyable. It’s been hard work but I’m sure that, if you asked the players, they would say that it has been very enjoyable too. A lot of players are in better physical shape than they have been before.
  • First and foremost we have welcomed a lot of new players and staff into the club so how we all connect and how we build relationships has been important.
  • David Drake, our new Head of Performance and Strength & Conditioning, has been superb in collaborating and connecting with all the departments. Those connections are essential in ensuring that we transfer what we are doing in the gym onto the pitch.
  • The conditioning work that we have done has been rugby-specific.

How has new team manager Luke Broadley settled in?

  • This is Luke’s first week so he’s getting up to speed with the role and one of the things that is that the top of list here is connecting the Warriors Family.
  • It’s so important that players and their families are happy off the field as well as on the field.
  • The vision of the club is to be sustainable and to be a top six team. To achieve that you need consistency of staff and consistency of messaging.