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The Adventures of Sinbad: Now we need a step up in quality, says James Simpson-Daniel

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 20, 2014

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THERE were perfect conditions for the match on Saturday and it was great to watch the boys lace up their boots again.

You could tell a lot more from the second half because the first was very scrappy and ugly due to a combination of factors.

Yorkshire were better in the first half before tiring and bringing on some younger players in the second half while we were pretty sluggish in the first 40 minutes.

There were a few issues we have to address and the scrum was one of them. It was not quite up to the high standards we want to set but the boys have been out working on that and I’m sure it will be sorted out.

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It’s the first game of pre-season so it is never going to be perfect but it’s a great opportunity for the boys to get the air in their lungs.

Most had a half each and it was a brilliant indicator of where we are.

It’s all about building towards that first match against Northampton Saints on September 5, and Munster on Saturday is a great pre-season fixture.

I don’t know what kind of team they will bring but one thing you always know with Munster is they will be really strong at the breakdown and the set-piece will be another battle.

That’s exactly what we need and it will be a real step up in quality after winning by such a margin last week.

It will be the first chance to see the likes of Richard Hibbard and John Afoa in action at Kingsholm and that in itself is very exciting.

It’s a lot easier to pick players from the second half on Saturday and James Hook looked very, very good.

It wasn’t just the two great individual tries but the movement he gave us and the way he got around the corner.

Mark Atkinson at 12 was also very good, he has good balance and offloaded very well.

You can’t compare him directly to Sonny Bill Williams but some of those offloads were very reminiscent of the All Black. He just needs to get that balance right and I know he would be the first to admit that.

Mark’s also a similar breed to Billy Twelvetrees and it’s great that he can come in and fulfil a similar role as a big, ball-playing centre.

Henry Purdy was also lively, he’s a very powerful and fast young guy and up front Dan Thomas had a couple of nice touches but we can’t get carried away and will have to wait and see how they go against tougher opposition.

It’s rare for everyone to like the coach, but it’s the case with the Laurie Fisher

IT’S a big one for Laurie Fisher but he is fully focussed on the job in hand here. There will be lots of familiar faces for him but it will be all about making sure we’re fully prepared.

There’s no messing around with Laurie , he’s joined up later than he would have liked and there’s lots to get through so we are really getting our heads down.

I haven’t seen enough of him to give a real insight but from first impressions alone you have to be very happy.

Everyone speaks very highly of him and everyone loves having him as a coach.

It is very rare that every person in a squad will like the coach but that is honestly the case at the moment.

He is going to be very good for us and the detail he is bringing is exactly what we need.

When you combine that with what John Muggleton is bringing in defence we have so much detail and feel fully prepared.

Gone are the days where you have one guy as the head coach, backs coach, attack coach and director of rugby.

We now have David Humphreys, a very clever and detailed rugby man, with lots of experience as a player but he doesn’t coach.

Then you have Laurie as head coach with Trevor Woodman, John and Nick Walshe. It’s an incredible coaching staff and that’s not even going into the strength and conditioning coaches and the rest of the guys.

Tough going at Twickenham

HAVING won the Premiership Sevens supporters might have expected Gloucester to have fared a lot better in the World Club Sevens at Twickenham but it was a totally different group.

We weren’t as strong as the previous week and the quality of the other teams certainly increased.

It’s a shame we didn’t give ourselves the best chance to compete but all the players that had played the previous week were involved against Yorkshire Carnegie and that had to be the priority.

But it was still a good exercise and gave the guys who were on the bench the previous week the chance to play with a few other guys. Olly Morgan still managed to learn a lot.

England Women's World Cup win was brilliant

I ALSO have to give credit to the England Women’s team after their incredible World Cup triumph.

It must be especially pleasing for them after coming so close in the last three tournaments.

They were pretty poor against Canada in the group stages and you always felt if they produced a bit more in the final it would be enough to get them home.

It was never a given but they performed brilliantly and finally took that crown.

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  • Dave_Baldwin1  |  August 21 2014, 7:49PM

    This is all well and good but, when it comes to Gloucester Rugby, what the club should have done last season was to ensure that Rupҽrt Hardҽn, our first choice and most talented tight head prop, started as many games for Gloucester as was possible.

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