Press Pass: Lawrie on Gloucester
Get the latest from Forwards Coach Stevie Lawrie as he spoke to media in the build-up to Saturday’s EPCR Challenge Cup match against Gloucester Rugby at Hive Stadium (13 December, kick-off 5.30pm).
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On Bill Mata’s departure from the club at the end of the season
“He’s been a fine servant for the club, he’s having a really good season, and we expect that to continue.
“It’s not imminent, he’s here until the end of the season and sometimes when these things are announced it gives you a focus to really finish on a high which I know Bill will want to do because he’s been such a good servant to the club.”
On what Bill is like to work with
“Very, very diligent, easy to coach. When you consider English is his second language he’s very switched on.
“I think you just get something a little bit different with Bill in terms of his ball-carrying. I thought he was excellent against Glasgow. He’s a good man and excellent to work with and I can’t speak highly enough of him.
“It’s one place where we have got a lot of depth so we’re confident with the stock we’ve got.”
On feeling the benefits of a week off
“It was 11 games on the bounce so it was nice for guys who have never had this week off before.
“Sean [Everitt] has just spoken to them. Often when you come back after a week off your first session is not the best, but the guys have trained really well.
“So hopefully they feel refreshed and now it’s important that we see the benefits of that time off.”
On keeping momentum going in front of a sell out crowd
“When Hearts are winning Tynecastle is full and when Hibs are winning their ground is more full than it normally is.
“If we can keep that momentum going into what is a massive game this weekend. Our win against Castres and the other results have blown the group wide open and it’s important we keep the momentum going.
“It’s going to be tough against a good Gloucester side but we’re excited to be back at Hive Stadium.
“That 1872 Cup crowd… it was a special day. To have the main stand full [at Hive Stadium] for the women’s game and then a record crowd of 37,000-plus at Scottish Gas Murrayfield was magic.”
His thoughts on Gloucester
“They’ve been right in it. We know how good Clermont are, and that was a fantastic win.
“The games that they’ve lost have been narrow losses. We know that with the coaches they’ve got, their pack is something that we’ll have to make sure we contest with, and they’ve got a bit of a threat in their back line as well with guys like Louis Rees-Zammit and Jonny May. There’s a lot of quality there.”
On his verdict on the first half of the season
“Both Mike Todd and myself went away – I went to Bordeaux, he went to Bath for the whole week. So we’ve actually used the time to do a little bit of in-season learning, which is always good.
“We’ve looked at a couple of areas that we want to build on. At this stage of the season you’re not changing anything, you just want to get better at the foundations that you’ve put in place.
“We’re pleased that we’ve won the games that we’ve won. But we’ve got a clear target of where we want to be at the end of the season.”