TREVOR Woodman is determined to make a difference to Gloucester’s faltering season after accepting the “special opportunity" to return to Kingsholm.
The England World Cup winner, who spent 12 years as a player with the Cherry and Whites, returned to the club as scrum coach earlier this month.
He replaced Tony Windo, who could not dedicate the necessary time to the role due to his commitments at Bromsgrove School.
Woodman, who was working at Cheltenham College, admits it was a chance he simply could not turn down and while he knows fixing Gloucester’s scrum woes is a long-term project, he insists the club can finish their season on a high.
He said: “Cheltenham College have been very kind over this decision to come back to Gloucester.
“It was good to take a break from the professional game and a special opportunity had to come around for me to come back into it
“For myself, the history of being a player at Gloucester, it was an opportunity I could not have turned down.
“If you are going to come in and make an impact it is going to take time. We’ve had six sessions in the last two weeks and have spent a lot of time on scrummaging.
“There’s been a lot of technical detailed stuff that needed to be put in place to get the outcome right.
“There’s not a lot wrong in terms of the quality. A bit of detail and discipline in terms of what we are doing should take us a long way
“We’ve been fortunate to have everyone fit in the last two weeks and have been able to get a lot of work under our belt. We now have some hard decisions around selection.
“There’s a minimum of seven games where we can make a difference, first and foremost that is to change the perception of the outside and to get the fans seeing what we’re trying to do and create.
“Is seven games is enough to change it around? Let’s hope so.”
Gloucester’s final block of matches begins against Newcastle Falcons at Kingsholm today.
The North East outfit sit just one place below the Cherry and Whites, and while they have the lowest try-scoring rate in the Aviva Premiership they are built upon solid forward foundations.
Woodman expects a formidable challenge at the set-piece and has made the pack well aware of the pressure they will come under, but he reckons they will flourish following their extended break between matches.
He said: “Off the back of two weeks it’s been good to have that training time and I’m looking forward to seeing how they respond against Newcastle.
“They had a week off and last week was structured to make sure we’re peaking for this weekend. Now there’s a good run of games coming now where we can change how the season’s gone.
“Newcastle have a strong, gnarly pack of forwards and will want to squeeze us in that area . We’ve made it clear to the boys what is coming, they have to confront that challenge and let’s see how we get on.
“We can’t afford to give them cheap penalties where they’re forcing us at the set-piece, getting territory and taking the easy three points. We have to be disciplined in the right areas of the field and that is where they will target us, at the set-piece.”
Woodman has a track record of working wonders at the set-piece having cut his coaching teeth at Sydney University.
The 37-year-old went on to become national scrum coach for the Australian Rugby Union before returning to England with London Wasps.
He cites Dean Ryan and Dai Young as major influences upon his coaching career and could have taken a role at Gloucester in the summer.
It is understood he was interviewed to join the coaching staff, with positions as forwards coach and in the academy available but was unsuccessful.
But having gained further experience at Cheltenham College he is confident it was the right route back to his beloved Cherry and Whites.
Woodman added: “You pick up things as a player and Dean Ryan was always one of the top coaches I worked with, people like Andy Robinson in the England set-up.
“You learn as you go along and Dai Young was a good influence at Wasps during the two years I worked with him.
“Last year I spoke to Nigel over a couple of roles that became unavailable, he decided at the time that Stan was the obvious choice and you will always battle slightly against internal appointments.
“But going down the route I went down and getting this opportunity now, it was the right one.”