Northampton Saints v Gloucester Rugby - Preview

Thanks to some excellent work by Stephen Engel who runs our @rugbyEng account, #rugbyunited are very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend a number of Premiership Rugby Press events.

In the latest one, #rugbyunited’s @rugbyglaws, represented by Marc Moor (@marcmoor) went to Kingsholm to hear about the season opener at Northampton….

Over to you Marc…..

#SAINTSVGLOS Gloucester Rugby Press Call

I worked in close protection for the mega rich and the odd and sometimes charming celebrities, and so I thought that I knew a thing or two about the media, the press, and the paparazzi but today within the hallowed walls of the Gloucester Rugby media suite it was nothing at all like I expected. New things seldom are. This is a new venture for #RugbyUnited and a new venture for me.

I arrived on time, and things started quietly and slowly… I was largely on my own for about ten minutes. I was then joined by a few more seasoned hacks and we were then informed that things would kick off with the David Humphreys ‘piece to camera’ but that would have to wait until he had finished his lunch. That was my first question answered; yes, the new Director of Rugby is just like you and me. I have decided not to bore you with my rendition of all that was asked and all what was said, because by the time you read this you will have already watching the official video, all that is required is that you just have to imagine I was just behind the camera, seriously concerned that I had not remembered to put my phone on silent the moment my fat thumbs pressed the big button to take the photo. I had done good, I got the photo and preserved the integrity of the official interview.

David Humphreys, as a man impressed me. He was calm, collected and unruffled. He has the air of an assured General and I would personally be happy to follow his lead and trust his vision, even when he spoke of Saints proven collective solidity and stability he brought his personal baring into it, he was in earnest and he did not equivocate, he is a man on a mission and who knows how to accomplish it, even though the cost may be heavy. It perhaps did not ooze through the camera, but I felt personally the wind of change at my shoulder.

TOM SAVAGE

I am heartily glad that I had the chance to speak to Tom, and the first thing that I can tell you about Mr Savage, is that he isn’t. He isn’t of course unless he is in Cherry and White (and the new swish black away kit, Coco Chanel would be so proud). Tom is a quietly spoken and thoughtful young giant of a man with hands that could throttle a well oiled rhino. My first question admittedly was not my best one, but it got the ball rolling. I asked Tom about the significance of the Saints game. He answered with predicable words and sound bites now the professional way of speaking which is fully instilled in the squad, but it was with his warm manner that made me feel at ease. Thank you, Tom. My second question was much better, and I now believe that Tom firmly appreciates a trier. And he responded in kind. The big man relaxed into his role as the more media savvy man between us. It was then that I realised that I was not recording what Tom was saying, I started to take casual but hurried notes but that didn’t work because I couldn’t read anything even after I had just written it. I felt a little stupid and completely unprofessional and I was now feeling that it was a little too late to do the smart thing and turn my iPhone on and start recording….. So I battled on with plan C which was to rely upon my appalling memory. Anyone familiar with me will vouch for the impending disaster. Just as several years ago I called to wish my youngest daughter a happy 18th birthday, only to be told after a long silence "Daddy I’m 19….." Having now fully explained my predicament I can swear that the rest of my questions were dazzling in their audacity and significant in their incision, and that Tom’s answers were fully off the cuff, devoid of the usual rhetoric and simplistic sound bites. Though I do recall my very last question I asked Tom. It turns out that my very last question was also the most significant. I asked Tom if he ever read or watched any press, media or blogs before or after a game. Thankfully he said no. I am saved.

What I got from my 5 minutes or so with Tom Savage, was that this is a confident young man who holds a huge and exciting Gloucester Rugby future in his enormous hands. He is thoughtful, articulate and very chatty, none of which was too apparent last season. Nigel Davies put a huge amount of trust and faith in this young giant and so too has David Humphreys, they both see what I saw and with better reason and with a lot more riding on it. My prediction for another true Glaws Legend is Tom Savage. When that happens, please remember that I said it here first on this page: if it doesn’t happen I will just plead insanity.

I did learn a lot today about our great club. I learnt that the great and mesmeric Sinbad will leave a lasting legacy and a void that cannot be filled. That empty space in our hearts where the Gloucester Rugby legend called James Simpson-Daniel used to play in his unique and dazzling way, that barren ground where only memories will flourish, this is his legacy. Only the great cannot be replaced or substituted, he is out on his own and his fourteen or so years at Gloucester Rugby will become the defining moments of heartfelt folklore of this, the greatest rugby club in the land. Today I also learnt that the club is brave enough to accept the spectre of defeat and to be largely unfazed by it. Only deep and concerted confidence can do that. That feeling runs throughout the squad. That confidence, I believe was never with Nigel Davies, he never really got his feet under the Gloucester Rugby table and that was either by design or incompetence on the part of many. There is no such cloud over this new directorship and coaching set up. Gloucester Rugby suffered a bloody nose last season, we were shaken but had enough about us to keep us on our feet. There may well be some ducking and diving this season starting this evening away to the reigning champions but we will be serious contenders in a relatively short time.

Thank you to the great and the good of #Rugbyunited for intrusting me with this mission, I sincerely apologise for my shortcomings but if I pass the audition I will be back, and I will be better and I will be more organised.