We will need to be on the money right from the word ‘go’ when the Aviva Premiership season kicks off this weekend.
The fixture list has handed us Bath, Leicester, Gloucester and Northampton in the opening month.
That is a seriously testing start.
We have made some good additions to the squad in the Summer and had a good pre-season with wins over Cardiff and the Llanelli Scarlets as well as Championship side Rotherham.
The new lads will all play their part but someone who I think will make a really big splash this year is second-rower Dean Schofield.
He is an old school player who carries well and will not take any prisoners.
It is often overlooked what an exceptional athlete he is and good ball player too.
Dean has been playing at Toulon and is renowned as being a very hard man. He will bring the grunt to the pack that can hopefully take us to a different level this season.
He won’t take a step back and, crucially, he won’t let anyone around him take a step back either.
Hopefully with Dean, the other new signings and the longest pre-season I can ever remember as a professional rugby player, we can achieve our aim of pushing up into that top six so that we qualify for Heineken Cup rugby.
We finished 10th last season but we were not that far away in many of the games that we lost.
Few sides, barring maybe Leicester, did a really good job on us and if we can turn some of those defeats into wins this year, that could be the difference between finishing 10th and sixth.
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