Academy Backs and Transition Coach Jonny Goodridge spoke to the media today ahead of Tuesday’s Premiership Rugby Cup final against London Irish.
Here’s what Jonny had to say:
How excited is everyone about playing in a final?
- It’s our first final in seven years and also our first domestic final as a top-flight club so it’s a really exciting occasion, not just for the players and playing staff, but the whole club – our supporters and administrative staff too.
- There are five coachloads of supporters going down plus two more for staff and I’m sure that a lot of supporters will also be making their own way there.
- So we should be well supported – as we were for the semi-final at Gloucester – and it’s going to be a fantastic occasion.
Can we expect you to play a near full-strength side?
- Selection for the final will be down to the powers-that-be but as this is our only game in May, we don’t have the issue of the restrictions on game time for players that we have faced for a couple of our games.
- Apart from our long-term injured players, we have a clean bill of health and we had enough players for two full teams in training today.
How much have you enjoyed coaching the side in the competition?
- It’s been hugely enjoyable and a really good experience for Chris Morgan and myself but we have had excellent support from the senior coaching team throughout the competition and Steve Diamond has allowed us to get on with it.
How pleased are you with the development of the younger players in the squad?
- The last couple of years have been really tough for the young players because they haven’t opportunities to go out on loan or to play in the Premiership Rugby Cup or Shield competitions.
- So we’ve been delighted that virtually the whole squad, plus a number of loan players, have had the opportunity to play in the Cup this season.
- Everyone has bought into it, whether that’s Academy players having their first experience of first team rugby, older players coming back from injury or the players that have come in on loan from other clubs.
- It’s testament to the strength of the squad how many players have contributed to getting us to the final.
Will it be strange playing a final at the home ground of one of the finalists?
- We knew that the venue would be determined by the seedings at the end of the group stage and, on that basis, Irish deserved to have a home final.
- It was possibly in our own hands in that final round of group games but we just got pipped by Gloucester and it wasn’t to be.
- But it’s still going to be a big occasion. More than 10,000 tickets have already been sold and we know that we are going to have good travelling support.
How would you feel if Warriors won the cup?
- I would be immensely pleased and proud. The pride comes from seeing players who have stepped up and performed to help us to get to the final.
- Chris and myself have a connection with the Academy players through our roles here and the entire Senior Academy squad have contributed to getting the club to a cup final.
- It has been a whole squad effort It would also be a fantastic achievement, not just for the players, coaches and staff, but for the whole club.
- It’s now about the players putting a performance in and getting a result on Tuesday.
- A lot of the players have come through the system here so they are local guys who know the history of the club.
- But the older guys who have been here for a while also appreciate what a significant match this for the club and everyone is incredibly excited about it.
There are a number of players who will be leaving at the end of the season, how important is it to send them off on a high?
- The nature of professional sport is that people come, people go and people leave. Everyone wants to leave on a high note.
- We have two big games left – the final and Bath here on June 4 – and everyone wants to make sure that we finish the season on a high.
Could the cup be a catalyst for further success?
- Absolutely. Just look at Exeter. Their first trophy in the top flight came in the cup and look at the heights they have scaled since then.
- Hopefully, if we put in a performance and get a result on Tuesday, we will have something to build on for next season.