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'Bit insensitive': New Gloucester policy shuts down injury updates

By Liam Heagney

Trending on RugbyPass

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Gloucester boss George Skivington has defended his club’s new policy where they will no longer issue injury updates on their players over the course of the 2021/22 Premiership and European season. It was last Friday, on announcing the team to play Northampton in the new league opener, that it emerged the Cherry and Whites would no longer willingly talk about bumps and bruises.  

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At the time, Alex Brown, the chief operating officer, said: “We have made the decision to not share weekly injury updates alongside our team announcements this season. This decision has been taken by the management team in respect of the players, who at times may not wish for their injuries to be shared whilst they go through rehabilitation.

“We know from the fans’ forum that this is something fans wanted to see [regular injury updated]. However, we hope that you can understand our reasoning with this and we appreciate your support.”

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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload
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Jack Nowell guests on the latest episode of RugbyPass Offload

This new Gloucester tactic was seen in action first-hand at the weekly media briefing Skivington held ahead of this Friday’s home match versus Leicester. Asked by a local broadcaster about the injury outlook ahead of team selection, Skivington replied: “I don’t want to talk too much about injuries because we talked about not doing that.”

Later in the session, Skivington shed some further light on the Gloucester policy change when asked by RugbyPass why the club thought it best not to provide information that is usually a major talking point among fans – which players are and are not available to play.  

“The sort of reason is just respect for the players really,” he reasoned. “We have had a few times where something has been said and lads have said, ‘Well hold on, I’m not ruled out yet, why did you put my name out there?’ We have had a couple of instances like that last year where it is not probably fair on some lads who are in that 50/50 spot to throw something out there, and some people don’t want the opposition knowing they are 50/50, do you know what I mean? 

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“I can dance around this. From my point of view, with all these conversations I can dance around in these interviews and say they are this and that but it is not my style to fluff things or try and back out of it. I’d rather say, ‘Listen, this is this and this is black and white’. It’s more the ones that aren’t black and white. We can talk about Jake Polledri and we all know he has got a (rehabilitation) process to go through and it will be a little while before Jake is back out there.

But the 50/50 ones when the team has not been announced and certain players might be pushing to get in the team and we are sort of saying, ‘Well, let’s see how you are?’. Some lads will go as far as team run, we’ll give you the chance on team run. If we start talking about all those it upsets people and there is no real need for it. Making sure people know people have got niggles is probably a bit insensitive to the players.”

Asked about the new blackout policy and whether it could catch on elsewhere, Skivington added: “I haven’t been in too many places where they do do it, put the injury stuff out there. No one I have spoken to has said anything to me. I haven’t had anything said back to me that is overly negative.”

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'Bit insensitive': New Gloucester policy shuts down injury updates

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