Morris wants county revamp
WITH the right preparation Gloucestershire can reach the Bill Beaumont Cup final next year, says team manager Paul Morris.
The county narrowly avoided relegation from the County Championship's top division after they beat last year's finalists Hertfordshire and North Midlands lost at Cornwall on Saturday.
At the end of a long season the county players had only one training session a week, which Morris said was the reason they are not running out in the final at Twickenham next Sunday.
"Preparation has still not been brilliant," said Morris, who led Gloucestershire Under-20s to a number of National Championship titles.
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"We have to have a look at it because the oldest player in the squad was Nev Codlin at 28, so that squad can get to Twickenham next year with two home games along the way.
"We can get there but we have got to have a proper review and look at how we are going to do this, because we need to do it better than we have done for the last two years."
The lack of playing time together was evident in Gloucestershire's opening two defeats, which plunged them into a relegation scrap.
But more focus was shown at Cinderford's Dockham Road ground against last year's runners-up on Saturday.
Morris said the county of Gloucestershire could be proud of their players' efforts as they avoided the drop.
"It is a feeling of relief and also exhilaration, but I thought we played really well against a good side," he added.
"Passion was the difference. We had passion. We had to bring it to the game and we did bring it to the game.
"The people of Gloucestershire who watched that game should be proud of what the players have done.
"There was a lot of focus and a lot of dedication and the attitude was right.
"I don't want to single any players out because they all deserve a lot of credit."
Hertfordshire boasted four players from Premiership side Saracens, including expensive rugby league convert Joel Tompkins, and three from Championship outfit Bedford, including last year's England Under-20s Junior World Cup finalist Ben Ransom.
Last season, the eventual Bill Beaumont Cup Division One South group winners humiliated Gloucestershire with their heaviest ever defeat in their only victory over them.
And Morris said his side had to be focused on derailing their expensively-assembled opponents.
"They are a side that if you give them space they will cut lose because they have got some destructive runners," added Morris.
"You have got players there on a lot of money.
"You have a guy in Saracens' Joel Tompkins behind the scrum who scored one of the tries in the Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Wembley last year, and it was a great try.
"So if the likes of him get through then he is going to cut lose."