As a player the biggest tournament you can be part of outside international rugby is the Champions Cup. Josh Hohneck and Tom Hudson talked about their experiences and what they are looking forward to in the game.
Hohneck preparing for physical test ahead
Josh Hohneck is aware of the qualities Castres bring as Top14 champions, saying ”We’re expecting a big French team. This cup is known around the world and it’s a massive challenge for us and something we’re pretty excited about. We’ve come up a flight and are keen to get into it.
The physicality may be a step up, French teams are notoriously big, strong and like their set piece, but the Prem’s a great competition and we’ve just got to take the confidence we have in that through.
Wasps was a stepping stone and we’ve just got to kick on from there.”
Gloucester ready to stamp their authority on the biggest stage
”We talked about stamping our name on the game in midweek and as a pack we’ve talked about when the game isn’t perfect being able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and impose ourselves through the set piece or carrying off nine.”
Having been one of the few fit props in the early stages of this season Hohneck has had to fight through a tough training regime and game time. ”It’s an attritional position, for me it’s a trademark of what I like to bring to the game. Being able to play week in week out, durability and being able to go the distance.
It certainly makes training harder as you do more reps than you’d usually do. You don’t get to sub, it’s a challenge, but it’s a good one as it’s pushing you more physically and you’ll get something out of it as long as you don’t push too hard.
Due to the injury crisis there have been several new players coming into the front row and Hohneck believe they’ve done a world of good to the team. ”Those boys have come in and had some real good energy. It’s exciting having them in the squad. You need that competition coming through and pushing you to stop you becoming complacent.”
One game at a time mentality
”We have to take every game at a time, we don’t know what to expect with certain areas, we’ve played Exeter numerous times so we know what to expect from them. No matter what group you’re in you have to beat everyone and if we want to put our hand up as a serious contender then we got to look at every game and attack it.
I don’t think the mindset changes at all, we’re at the start of the competition. It’s week one we’re all on the same amount of point as we’re just going to attack it aggressively.”
Hudson in confident mood
Despite the draw not being as kind as some may have wanted, Tom Hudson is confident they can make inroads in the competition. ”We’re a confident team, the mood is a good one. There’s plenty of apprehension, plenty of excitement and we’re definitely ready. Nobody in the squad really knows how we’re going to fare against the big European teams, but we’re going to give it our all.”
Hudson insists that despite a new set of challenges awaiting them the Gloucester brand of rugby won’t change. ”Our brand of rugby will stay the same no matter the competition, what we want to do on the field won’t change. The competition will differ and get better, but that’s something we’ll thrive on.
We like to move the ball, we like to play our own brand. We’ve had our highs and lows, we’re a squad that’s learning 24/7. Two games in the Champions Cup and then the Premiership Rugby Cup and back into the Gallagher Premiership. Each micro block we’ll try and get as many wins as we can.”
”They’re a quality side. We won’t look into it too much, we’re at Kingsholm, it’s on home turf and there’s plenty of motivating factors.”
Hudson enjoying Woodward rivalry
”I’m really enjoying myself at the moment, 15 is the shirt I’m wearing at the moment and everyone knows I can play other positions. I’m just so happy as long as I got a number on my back. The fact we have so much competition at throughout the squad is just a good thing for Gloucester and I will keep competing for the 15 shirt with Jason.”
Gloucester kick off their campaign against Castres this Sunday at 1pm.
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