Former London Irish assistant George Skivington has endured a difficult time since becoming a first-time head coach at Gloucester last summer, but he has been given a vote of confidence from rival boss Pat Lam to stick at it ahead of Friday night’s bottom versus top clash in the Gallagher Premiership. 


Last on the table after just a single win in eight outings, Gloucester have it all to when they host league leaders Bristol at Kingsholm. However, rather than feel bleak about the results he has suffered so far on his watch, Skivington has been encouraged to look on his experience at Gloucester as invaluable as he serves his first-time head coach apprenticeship.

Lam is now viewed as one of the most successful coaches around, leading Bristol to European Challenge Cup glory last season while also taking little-fancied Connacht to Guinness PRO12 glory in 2016.

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However, he claims those successes stemmed from his traumatic experience in charge of the Super Rugby Blues in Auckland, a difficult spell that resulted in his sacking in 2012, and he suggests the pain Skivington is currently encountering will only make him a stronger and better coach in the long run. 

“People highlight 2012 and how terrible it was you got sacked – it was the best year that stands out because that is where I got most of my learning,” said Lam, whose Bears team stayed top of the Premiership despite last week’s defeat Sale, the club that also has a new first-time head coach at the helm in Alex Sanderson. “It’s like the game last week, you get your learnings. 

“What I got (in 2012) was clarity about making sure when I go to my next job there are so many things that have to be put in place so you can do your job, just coaching. What every one sees is the results but even the way George speaks very well and a lot of players speak highly of him, I can see he has a great career ahead of him but only he knows the environment he is in and there is so much that goes.


“The learning that George is getting at the moment is massive in his development as a coach and you can see within his game what he is trying to build. I don’t like any coach getting sacked but what we do, it is part of it. What I’m hoping is that he has got good support around him at Gloucester because he has got a really good future.”

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