Rob Cook – Aviva Premiership Debut

by Rob Cook
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The latest update from Rob Cook, Tacklesport Ambassador and Full Back for Gloucester Rugby Football Club.

Well a lot has happened since my last entry.

Martin Bennett/ Gloucester Rugby

Training has got into more of a routine as games are becoming priority.  After the pre-season friendlies our first league game was against Northampton Saints at home. I wasn’t involved in the squad but did get to warm up with the team before kick-off, this is just in case anyone gets injured. It was a really good atmosphere and even though I wasn’t involved, a full ‘Shed’ really got the hairs on my neck standing to attention.

If not involved in the first team there is an opportunity for Rugby in the A league. Teams are mainly built up from players who aren’t involved in the first team squad and academy players. Our first game was against Worcester in which we won 82-0. They were a very young side. I was happy with my performance however my kicking could have been better. Kicking is a big part of my game and I was slightly disappointed as I only managed 5 from 10.

The next week was an interesting one. On Wednesday I found out I was going on loan to Cornish Pirates. Nigel was very honest with me and said I wouldn’t be involved in the first team and it was a chance to get some competitive rugby. I did think at some point in the season I might be going back to the Pirates on loan; however I didn’t think it would be this soon. I was ok with this as it was a chance for me to play some rugby.

It was a good game to go back to, a local derby versus Plymouth. There were a lot of new faces at Pirates and a lot had changed but it was good to be back. We won a close game 19-17 and I did get the winning kick.

However I didn’t stay long as the next day I was back at Gloucester for an A league game against Sale. Playing 2 games in 2 days was something I had never done before. Physically I felt ok, but mentally it was quite hard getting up for the second game.  We won the game in torrential conditions 22-12.

The next week, there were quite a few injuries from the London Irish game, in which the boys did well to come away with a win. I thought I might be in with a chance of being involved against Worcester.

It was a late decision and I was in on the bench for the first team. I was very happy. The game itself wasn’t a pretty affair and we didn’t play very well. It ended in a draw and it was probably a fair result.  I got on for the last 10 minutes at fullback and did ok nothing special. It was good to be involved and it was a shame that be didn’t get a better result, but Worcester is not an easy place to go.

So with 10 minutes under my belt I did feel that I was more involved and again with a couple of injuries there was a chance I could go one better next week and start.

And I did; my first start in the Premiership. During the week I didn’t really think about it. Preparation at this level is awesome every opposition game and player is analysed. However we focus on a few trends of the opposition but also focus on more of what we are going to do.

The game was against Wasps who are playing very well and have got pace to burn in their backs, with the likes of Varndell and Wade just a couple to mention.

I didn’t think I was that nervous until the night before where I just couldn’t sleep. I just wanted it to get to match day. Once I was at the ground I was fine, the shed was as loud as ever.

The game itself was frantic as both sides played and expansive style of rugby. I thought I played pretty well and didn’t do much wrong, and was happy to play the full 80 minutes. We won the game 29-22 and never seemed to pull away from Wasps. It was an important result for us, as we hadn’t won at home since February.

This week we have a tricky fixture away at London Welsh. I think a couple of sides have underestimated them and ultimately ended up losing to them. We have no illusions that this is going to be a very tough game.

Well that’s all from me at the moment.


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