Humphreys: Expectation levels will be huge
August 22, 2014
David Humphreys leads a new-look coaching team at Gloucester this season © Getty Images
David Humphreys says he is well aware of the expectations of Gloucester fans as he prepares for his first season in charge at the Aviva Premiership club.
Director of rugby Humphreys leads a new-look Gloucester coaching set-up that will attempt to blend a host of new arrivals with the club's stalwarts of last season. Incoming players at Kingsholm this summer hail from all parts - Welshmen James Hook and Richard Hibbard, Scotland's Greig Laidlaw, New Zealander John Afoa and England's Tom Palmer lead a cast of internationals arriving at the club.
Australian Laurie Fisher has taken up an appointment as head coach, while Humphreys' staff also includes former Wallabies defence specialist John Muggleton and ex-Gloucester and England prop Trevor Woodman, who looks after scrummaging work.
It represents a huge change in personnel, and there will be those who might anticipate a quick fix as Gloucester look to climb from the lows of last season's ninth-place Aviva Premiership finish that cost Humphreys' predecessor Nigel Davies his job.
"When I first took the job, someone told me who had been here a long time that the expectation among Gloucester supporters is that they are going to win the league almost every year," Humphreys said "So we've got to manage that and understand that is the environment we are coming into.
"Putting a team together is not as simple as bringing in good players and good coaches, and then hoping it all works. There is a certain chemistry that needs to be there.
"There has been a huge amount of work that has gone on in pre-season. Physically, the players are in great shape, but it is very hard to start talking about where we are going to finish and make predictions.
"If you look at the quality of player in the Gloucester squad, the quality of player that has been here for a number of years and then you add in the international-quality players who have been recruited over the last few months, there is no doubt it is a very good squad.
"But it takes more than that. If you look throughout the Premiership, a lot of the teams we will be competing with have also recruited very well and strengthened, so it is very hard to know where we are going to sit.
"By November, when we have gone through the first phase of Premiership games, that will give us a better feel of where we are and a better feel of what needs to be done and how we are going to do it."
Humphreys, 42, has arrived in the West Country following a long career as a player and then administrator with Ulster. The former fly-half won 72 Ireland caps and captained Ulster to Heineken Cup glory in 1999.
"This is a hugely exciting and hugely challenging move for me," Humphreys added. "This opportunity came along out of the blue. I sat and thought about it for a couple of days, and it was a gut-reaction - it felt like a really big challenge.
"It's a fantastic place and everyone knows the history associated with this club. It is very similar to Ulster with a hugely passionate following and for me this was an opportunity I felt was the right one from a family and rugby point of view.
"Laurie has got very clear views on how we want to play and there are very good players here who are able to adapt and are used to working under different coaches and playing different styles.
"A lot of new players have come in, together with seven new members of staff, and we are all hugely motivated, ambitious and driven to bring success to this club."
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