The CEO of Gloucester Rugby has suggested that new head coach George Skivington is mending the errors of the Johan Ackermann era at the Gallagher Premiership club.
Despite being highly rated in coaching circles, the relatively inexperienced Skivington was a surprise choice for Gloucester when they went to the market to replace former Springbok Johan Ackermann, who left the club for Japan earlier this year.
Lance Braley addressed fans in an open letter on their website, updating followers of the Cherry and Whites on the progress the club have made in recent months.
“As you know, we finished the 19-20 season in 7th place, up from 9th pre-lockdown. We had always said that the final post-lockdown games would provide a great opportunity for our new coaching team, under George Skivington, to get a good look at our squad and see what we needed to do to get where we all want to be – challenging for trophies.
“It’s fair to say that some of our results were very pleasing, while others were certainly less so. But I can tell you that we learned a lot, and this has given us a clear view of where we need to improve. It also meant that we made full use of our whole squad, including some of our Senior Academy players. There were a number of players who may not ordinarily have had such a good chance to show what they can do who have most certainly made a strong case for their inclusion in George’s future squad selection.
“With the 20/21 season kicking off in only two weeks’ time, games coming up every weekend throughout the season and our international players away for a significant period of time, squad depth is going to be an important factor.
“There’s no doubt that George and his new coaching team have already made some noticeable improvements. Our pack has looked significantly better, and while pre-lockdown we were one of the worst teams in terms of giving away penalties, post-lockdown there was only one team who conceded fewer penalties than we did.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but these are good signs.”
Gloucester have however been forced to put plans for a new training ground on hold for the immediate future as they struggle to deal with the financial fallout of the pandemic and its implications for rugby.
“Many of you were kind enough to donate towards the costs of our new training ground, and thank you again for that.
“The money that was donated has been ring-fenced for use on the new facilities, but the financial impact of not being allowed fans into Kingsholm has meant that we have had to revisit the timings of our development plans.
“We do still intend to build a fantastic new facility, and we have identified a site, but financial constraints mean that we are not in a position to proceed with the development within the time frames originally planned.
“We will therefore develop an interim training facility at Kingsholm, which we will use until we are able to move into the all-new facilities.
“We will share full details of our plans once all the details have been tied up.”
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