Lead Rugby Consultant Steve Diamond spoke to the media today ahead of Wednesday’s Premiership Rugby Cup semi-final against Gloucester Rugby and Saturday’s Gallagher Premiership match against Saracens at Sixways.
Here’s what Steve had to say:
On the team selected to face Gloucester
- Around two-thirds of the squad have played in the Cup already this season. The competition is for the development of young players and also for the rehabilitation of players who are coming back from injury.
- Looking at the sides that have been named, everyone has stiffened their teams up a bit but you would expect that for a semi-final.
- Duhan van der Merwe hasn’t played for a month because of a fractured rib but his pain threshold has reduced this week and he has asked to be selected.
- Jonny Goodridge and Chris Morgan will be in charge again at Gloucester. They have done a good job so far and it has been refreshing to see so many of our young lads coming through. I’ve been very impressed by the academy here.
- I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game. There’s not so much pressure on me because I’m not coaching the team.
How difficult has it been to pick three teams in a week?
- Team selection is difficult in a three-match week. You can’t start three games, you can only play 180 minutes and there are other restrictions.
- There are 14 players in our squad who have played in the competition this season but ultimately we want to win the game which is what we will try to do.
- Gloucester have got a not dissimilar team out. They have got other irons in fires, a big game at the weekend to keep them in top four contention so I can understand their predicament also.
On attempts to bring the Bath match forward
- The regulations are in tablets of stone. For us to move the game we needed all 13 clubs to agree for a fixture which, apart from us and Bath, we can’t influence anything.
- It was one other club who decided that the request was against the protocols and regulations so they voted against.
- It was a 12-1 vote so that’s 92 per cent who said it was OK and eight per cent who said it wasn’t. The minority are dictating what the majority do in some cases and this was one of them.
- There’s no whingeing, we get on with it. We will play Bath on June 4 in our last home game. Hopefully it will be a good display of rugby from two teams with no pressure on them.
On the performance at Wasps
- We are currently giving sides too many chances. They are not having to work hard for things.
- We didn’t convert our opportunities. Defensively we were good one-on-one it was just a couple of system errors that made us look like schoolboys.
- You can complain about the opportunities we missed but collectively our defence has been poor. We conceded more than 100 tries this season. It’s not something that we will be able to remedy in the next week or two it needs a pre-season on it.
What will happen during the long gap between the Saracens and Bath matches?
- We will play Saracens, then the lads will get a couple of weeks off and then we will come back in see where we are before Bath.
- What will happen is that the lads who are staying will get fit over those three or four weeks and the lads who are leaving will go to their new clubs fit as butchers’ dogs.
- I will know on July 8 where I stand with the lads who are currently here because the lads who are coming in will certainly be fit when they arrive.
- The other positive about having some more time is that I can do proper exit interviews with people who are leaving. People are usually far more honest when they are leaving than when they are staying.
- I can also set goals for the players who are staying so we get them back bigger and stronger when they come back on July 8.
- Their honeymoon period with Steve Diamond is coming to an end, the pre-season of graft will be upon them.
- There will be no flash trips abroad. There may be a few camping trips up to the mountains but we are going to have fun and we are going to get fit.
- We have announced seven new players who will add to the squad and there will be one or two new coaches arriving who will add to that mentality.
- We have got a job on our hands. No-one likes driving back from Coventry having lost 41-12, or 45-10 against Newcastle and, although we were plucky in Lyon we were still beaten.
- So what do you do? You have to change the mindset of how we do things around here and that is what I am going to do.
- What I need is hard core players who are present here and hard core players to join me. I need experienced coaches who have played at the highest level and coached and shown an aptitude for that to join the other members of the coaching to develop our t strategy and achieve the objective of getting Worcester out of the bottom two.
- They are a very well-drilled team. You saw that last week against Exeter.
- They stick to their processes really well and they go through them. They have some world-class players that make a difference.
- We have got to be at our best on Saturday and we have to hope that they are not at their best for us to stand a chance.
- I am confident of the lads. Only three weeks ago we were being accused of not being able to put a team out. We have now managed to put a team out midweek and we have to put another team out 72 hours later so there will be some tired bodies.
You’ve announced seven new signings have you any more in the pipeline?
- There’s no-one available at this moment. What happens in rugby and life is something always pops up.
- What I’m not going to do is commit the club to signing somebody who is not of the ability or potential of what we want.
- There is a long way to go before the start of next season, there will always be fall-outs at clubs and people will become available for one reason or another.
- We have plenty of money in reserve in the budget to get two locks and another tighthead. Whether we get them is another matter. We might have to wait until November when people come out of contract in the Southern Hemisphere.