Charlie Chapman and Gareth Evans look ahead to Bristol Derby

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GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 29: Charlie Chapman of Gloucester United passes the ball during the Premiership Rugby Shield match between Gloucester United and Bath United at Kingsholm Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Following a big win over Wasps, Charlie Chapman and Gareth Evans shared their views on the Gloucester Rugby squad depth, coaching variety and looked ahead to the Bristol Bears game this weekend. 

Chapman prepared for big stage

Following an impressive first run out for the Gloucester senior side Charlie Chapman is looking forward to continuing his spell of game time ahead of Bristol. ”It’s always good to run out with your friends. A lot of the boys are making their debuts and it was packed. It was good to experience that side of the game which a lot of us hadn’t done so far. The club do really well to prepare you for stuff like that. It’s going to be tough mentally. The club does a really good job of getting us in the right state of mind”.

Physical Bristol challenge lies ahead

Looking ahead to the Bristol game Chapman said, ”Any game in the Premiership Rugby Cup is going to be tough. We’ve come off a few tough losses in the a league with a similar team. Now we’ve gelled and come together we’ve found our feet a bit, we’re physically prepared, we’ve got a fit squad.

There’s always something to work on, even when you come out of a good victory. It’s a different turnaround playing from a Saturday to a Friday, you lose a day so it’s important to get our analysis in and adapt our game a little bit to it.

Last week was big mental shift, now we’ve got that environment where we know what it’s like to step out on that big stage, but nothing changes training wise. It’s always kept the same. The game plan is the same, but we’re all prepared for it.

A lot of the boys had it as their first taste of victory this season, being able to step up on that big stage and get a victory like we did is always good.”

Intense derbies ahead

*With a Bristol away game in their pool and Bath away after Christmas, Gloucester have the privilege of two ‘derby’ games. In front of expected big crowds and in big games Chapman added, ”You always get a sense of a derby game in the A league, but to play against a lot of bigger names allows the feeling of the derby to change. You understand the intensity a lot more and we’re ready to meet it head on.

It’s a big role for the older boys and it’s important to guide the younger group through. They take a leadership role in training.

U20s guiding Chapman on

Having broken into the Scottish U20s Chapman has played at a decent standard of rugby before. Looking at how it benefitted him coming into this tournament he said ”It was a good experience in how I played and developed my game. It brought a new dimension to my game, having that more intense environment there for a while puts you in good stead for a competition and you can pass that on.”

Gloucester debut a dream come true

Having supported the club from a young age Chapman revealed just how big an honour it was for him to pull on the famous Cherry and White shirt. Looking ahead at a future career he said, ”It means everything. From a young age I had a season ticket and was having photos with the players after and it makes you realise how lucky I am to have this opportunity. You understand they don’t come around often and hopefully I’m in the squad for time to come.

Evans wants to tidy up the performance

Despite winning in a rather comfortable fashion back row Gareth Evans is looking at the team to improve upon their performance ahead of Bristol. ‘

‘We looked back at the game and there were a few bits we could tidy up. Weather conditions weren’t ideal, but you have to adapt. If it wasn’t for that five or ten minute period where things went our way then it could have been a slightly tougher day at the office. That really blew them out the water and we had control from there.

It was good from the young boys and for us to realise that and then gather and score a try at the end. We said on the day we were disappointed to let them score at the end, but it’s on of those things, we’ll learn lessons from it”.

Evans holding up the average age

Evans, 26, jokingly started by saying ”If I wasn’t playing the average age would have been about 18″. Adding, ”It’s clear that they stepped up and it was very impressive in the way they handled themselves. I’ve got a lot more experience than these boys have, so anything I can do to help them out then that’s what I was trying to do. To keep them calm, keep the composure and keep on script.

After we scored them three tries, I could see on the boys faces how great it was, I said let’s not go crazy, lets not force things and they responded well to coaches and experienced players giving them advice.

Bristol targeting home games

In previous years a lot of sides who are struggling in the Premiership have targeted home cup games as a way of gathering form. Evans sees this as a challenge saying ”I’d have thought they’ll want to put in a statement out, we’ve played them once this season and turned them over at Kingsholm so they’ll want to return the favour.”

Home support crucial

With a gate of over 12,700 cheering the boys on last week at Kingsholm Evans revealed how much it means to the boys, ”It’s fantastic for me, but for those young boys it’s an awesome experience. You could see it on their faces, it really gets them up for it when we did the lap around the field pre-game.”

Fresh faced coaching ideal

Head of academy Richard Whiffin has taken over the reigns for the three week block of fixtures in the Premiership Rugby Cup and the Swindon born back-rower is happy to see these changes. ”It’s always good having a different coaches style, whether it’s structure of the week or what we do in training. It’s interesting and it’s a different stimulus and our training has been different.

Last week us senior boys we came out of sessions after a lot of running, because these younger boys have energy for days. Whiff is all about keep playing till the whistle goes. it means you get to work on different aspects of your game.”

Premiership Rugby Cup a ”Major opportunity”

”One thing that’s good about it is that because it’s an unknown you focus on yourself and your own preparation as a team. That’s what we’ve been doing, making sure we’re ready to deliver the best performance we can”.

Having spent large chunks of this season and last on the injury list Gareth Evans has looked at the development competition as a way of gathering some game time to impress the coaching staff. ”It’s game time, I haven’t had a huge amount of game time recently and I need to make the most of it regardless of what competition it is. I want to show the coaches what I’m capable of and hopefully they like what they see and I get more game time going forwards.

I haven’t done as much game time as I’d have liked in the last 18 months or so it’s really important for me to put my best foot forward and put my hand up for a shirt and a new contract”.

Dominant forward display must continue

Following on from their dominant display over Wasps Evans believes they must now set the tone for the rest of competition.

”It’s something we’ve talked about more in recent weeks. We feel our forwards have really fronted up and taken the game by the scruff of the neck. We say the game will be won in the pack.

It’s massively important for the pack to be dominant and we had a good display against Wasps and if we can work on the bits that didn’t go so well and mix it with keeping the intent and the energy we had and marry it in with more accuracy then we’ll be a force to be reckoned with”.

Gloucester take on the Bristol Bears at Ashton Gate this Friday following last week’s win over Wasps. 

Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images

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