Press Conference Notes 27.12.21

Academy Backs Transition Coach Jonny Goodridge spoke to the media today ahead of Wednesday’s Premiership Rugby Cup match against Gloucester Rugby at Sixways (kick-off 7.45pm).

Here’s what Jonny had to say:

On the Premiership Rugby Cup

  • It’s a competition that we want to do well in which was reflected in the strong side that we picked for our opening match against Bristol Bears.
  • Wednesday’s team will be a nice blend of experience and some of our younger players who have not had many opportunities to pull on a Warriors shirt this season and are chomping at the bit to do so.
  • We had a hard Premiership match against Saracens on Boxing Day and player welfare is of paramount importance so it’s important that the players who played there get time to recover.
  • But we have a big squad with good depth so we have enough players to be able to put out two sides this week.

Does the absence of the Premiership Rugby Shield this season increase the importance of the Cup?

  • It’s a good way to give game time to players who have not had exposure in the Premiership and also to try some new combinations.
  • Some clubs choose to put out totally young sides, others try to get a blend of youth and experience, which is what we are going to do.
  • It gives everyone in the squad an opportunity to show what they can do.
  • We believe the Premiership Rugby Cup is an important competition and we want to go as far as we can in it.
  • If we can get the result on Wednesday it puts us in a good position for our last two group games.
  • The result against Bristol was a big statement and backing that up will be important for the squad and for the whole club in general.

What are you expecting from Gloucester?

  • They have had two good wins in the competition so far which suggests that they are also taking it very seriously.
  • They had a game on Boxing Day and they play again at the weekend so you can probably guess that the make-up of their squad on Wednesday will be different.
  • We can’t predict what they will pick. Our focus has been on ourselves and trying to get as much cohesion with the guys as we possibly can because we will have a few new combinations.
  • It’s just making sure we go out and express what we can do. We are in control of that. We bring our own energy and our own game plan. If we can get those right things should go well for us on Wednesday.

Tell us more about your role

  • I’m heavily with the Under-18s and their matches and training.
  • I also work closely with players coming into the Senior Academy and helping them to bridge the gap between Academy and first team rugby, helping to develop them as quickly as possible to push for first team selection.
  • They have come out of schoolboy and academy rugby and Premiership rugby is very different so it’s almost like learning a new game.
  • It’s a balance between physical development and also managing how much they play, where they play, what training they are doing and whether they need to do additional training or do they need to go out and play.
  • A number of the Academy players missed a whole year because of what happened with COVID.

You’ve had quite a number of players on loan this season, has that been beneficial?

  • We have good relationships with a number of Championship clubs – we’ve got players at Cornish Pirates, Ampthill, Hartpury and Coventry – Birmingham Moseley in National One and Stourbridge in National Two North.
  • It’s about trying to pitch what level players to help them succeed but not to make it too easy for them. It has to be challenging both mentally and physically.
  • It’s good watching their games to see how they are developing, those who re developing quickly and the guys who might need a bit longer.
  • It’s all competitive rugby. There are more games than the Academy League and it’s attritional so it’s demanding mentally as well as physically.

You will be running the team with Chris Morgan on Wednesday. Are you looking forward to that?

  • It’s enjoyable and something we are looking forward to.
  • We have taken the lead this week in the last couple of training sessions with the guys.
  • It’s nice to get the promotion for the week as it were. For us as coaches it’s like the guys who are coming into the side on Wednesday who maybe haven’t experienced this level before.
  • It gives us the opportunity to head things up, run things and be in charge of training sessions.
  • It’s been good and we’re really looking forward to Wednesday night.
  • Training has gone really well and the more senior players have really stepped up and helped myself and Chris out making sure that we can get as much good training as we can under our belts before Wednesday.