Kriel look­ing for a chance to make de­but in cup

Gloucestershire Echo - - NEWS -

JACO Kriel is near­ing a re­turn from in­jury and could make his Glouces­ter de­but in the Premier­ship Rugby Cup over the com­ing weeks.

The South Africa in­ter­na­tional flanker is yet to play for the club af­ter hav­ing two op­er­a­tions on his shoul­der be­fore join­ing from the Lions.

Kriel is tak­ing part in some sec­tions of train­ing and it is hoped he will fea­ture for Glouces­ter be­fore the Premier­ship re­sumes in mid-novem­ber with three weeks of the new cup com­pe­ti­tion, re­plac­ing the An­glo-welsh Cup, ahead.

“He’s been out there do­ing bits and bobs train­ing wise,” said Glouces­ter head of academy Richard Whif­fin, who is lead­ing the side this week ahead of their Pool 3 fix­ture at home to Wasps.

“He’s not rein­te­grated fully into the train­ing ses­sion but he’s look­ing fit, he’s look­ing healthy and it’s just a mat­ter of when the medics clear him for full train­ing and games. He won’t be far away.”

Other se­nior play­ers who are yet to play this sea­son could also get some game time un­der their belts be­fore the next Premier­ship game against Le­ices­ter on Novem­ber 16.

Wingers Ol­lie Thor­ley and Henry Purdy re­turned to full train­ing last week, while it is hoped club cap­tain Willi Heinz will be ready for the next block of Premier­ship fix­tures.

“It’s a per­fect op­por­tu­nity for that,” said Whif­fin.

“Over the three weeks guys will get dripped back in and let’s not beat around the bush, we want to have a good crack in this com­pe­ti­tion and it’s a good op­por­tu­nity for those younger guys, but as well we want to make sure we’re pre­pared for that first Premier­ship game back af­ter this block.”

Most of the se­nior squad who have been heav­ily in­volved dur­ing a gru­elling first eight weeks of the sea­son have been given some time off to rest.

The fact Whif­fin has ef­fec­tively been placed in charge for the next three­week pe­riod with games against Wasps, Northamp­ton and Bris­tol is a clear in­di­ca­tion a num­ber of young­sters will be given an op­por­tu­nity.

“There are a fair few se­nior guys at the mo­ment on a down week so from the group that we get given we’ve got li­cence to pick and tweak the team as we see fit,” said Whif­fin.

“It will all come from a frame­work, the team and club want to play a cer­tain way and we’ll stick to that, but each coach has his own lit­tle tweaks and niches and there will cer­tainly be lit­tle things that my­self and the coach­ing team think they can bring the team.

“From our point of view we cer­tainly see it as a mas­sive de­vel­op­ment tool and an op­por­tu­nity for our younger lads to get the shirt on and get in front of that King­sholm crowd.”

Jaco Kriel

Glouces­ter cap­tain Willi Heinz with the Cham­pi­ons Cup as he works his way to fit­ness

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