Matt Rogerson made his first outing of the new season against Munster last weekend and is happy to be back playing matches again.
As the levels of excitement builds ahead of the opening Premiership Rugby Cup fixture against Gloucester, Rogerson is hoping to put all the hard work of pre-season into the upcoming matches.
“I’m really looking forward to it, I think all the lads are to be honest. It’s been a long pre-season and we have felt the benefit of that, especially in terms of the amount of training and fitness work we have got under our belts. Obviously, at this point we are raring to get into the games now!”
The Gallagher Premiership brings with it no ‘easy fixtures’ and the Premiership Rugby Cup is no different. Rogerson went on to acknowledge the challenges that the travelling squad face when heading to the West Country.
“Historically, Gloucester is a difficult place to go and play rugby. They usually have a bit of a hostile banter coming from ‘The Shed’. On the field, they have a big pack, so I am expecting them to be a physical outfit that are very confrontational.
“We are going to have to match that and exceed it. It will be a big test, but we are prepared for it.
Looking forward to seeing the travelling Exiles supporters, Rogerson believes the noise from the away sections of the stadium could lend a helping hand.
“We are definitely going to need our supporters through the whole match. I think Gloucester’s supporters are pretty vocal, so I expect ours will be the same!”
Irish competed in the Premiership Rugby 7s and travelled to Cork to play Munster, completing the pre-season action for the summer. Whilst both were very different experiences, Rogerson feels that the squad can take positives from the fixtures.
“Both the Premiership Rugby 7s and the Munster friendly were good learning curves for us. With the 7s, it’s a completely different game, a lot more expansive. The lads that played in that will reap the rewards of that and being able to test their skills set.
“In terms of the Munster game, we came up against a well drilled and strong side. We felt there were points to take away from that and work on as a squad. Overall, we took a lot of positives from the match and worked on the things that we felt needed to be improved upon.”
From a personal point of view, the strong ball carrier thinks that he has benefited from the extended pre-season.
“Personally, I believe my pre-season has gone well. The extended period gave me a chance to work on my fitness and build my strength. I’ve gathered some match fitness, so I am just looking forward to pushing on into these Premiership Rugby Cup.”
In what has been the first week of preparation for a season fixture, Rogerson explained how the coaches have delivering a consistent message ahead of the Gloucester match.
“The coaches have been telling us to keep building on what we have been working on throughout the whole of pre-season. We have been working on our attacking shape and what that means for us as individuals.”
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