GLOUCESTER Rugby used their break from Aviva Premiership action to strengthen their coaching staff and with a World Cup-winner on board Elliott Stooke is excited about the future, writes Chris Bailey.

Ex-Cherry & White prop Trevor Woodman, who helped England claim the Webb Ellis Cup in 2003, has arrived at Kingsholm as scrum coach.

The 37-year-old is no stranger to his surroundings having played for the club for almost a decade and has wasted no time getting to work with the Gloucester pack.

Stooke, the 20-year-old lock who came through the ranks at Stow RFC, is already feeling the benefit of his expertise and ahead of the visit of Newcastle Falcons he’s looking to put the new plans into action.

“We’ve got a new scrum coach in so we have been working hard with him during the break,” said Stooke.

“It’s great to have someone who has won a World Cup and who has all that knowledge helping out the team.

“It’s a really exciting and positive move for the club and I’ve enjoyed working with him and working on my game.

“He’s been trying to get us to work as a unit more and so we’re all working together in the scrum.

“It’s good to have him at the club, it’s a real positive thing for the club and it’s good to be working with him.”

Gloucester’s up-and-down form had continued before the break with the club running Leicester Tigers close at Welford Road and beating Harlequins at the Stoop before Northampton defeated them 39-13 at Franklin’s Gardens.

Yet with Worcester Warriors still adrift at the bottom of the Aviva Premiership there is no danger of Gloucester slipping out of the division and victory on Saturday would help bridge the gap to a pack of teams chasing seventh.

And after winning two of their last three home games in the Aviva Premiership, Stooke admits the Cherry & Whites are keen to put on a show for the Kingsholm faithful this weekend.

“We were playing well before the break and were unlucky to lose to Leicester as well and we want to keep our performance levels up,” he added.

“We’re into the backend of the season and they’re all going to be tough but Newcastle is one that we’re targeting to get the win.

“It will still be a tough game but we’ve been playing well and if we can play as we have been then we’ll have a good chance.

“We have one of the best sets of fans so we just want to reward them and especially at Kingsholm.

“We know Newcastle are a very physical team and we have to match that but we’re looking forward to it.”

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