Nick Wood has seen many players come and go through Kingsholm’s doors over the years but he believes the current squad at Gloucester Rugby could well end up topping the lot.
It is director of rugby David Humphreys’ first season in charge at the Cherry & Whites and while it was not in the plan to end 2014 down in ninth, the former Ulster boss admitted it was never going to be an easy fix.
And the narrow Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat to Wasps last weekend perhaps best summed up their season to date – the good and bad in equal measure.
But with a spine that includes internationals such as Richard Hibbard, Ben Morgan and Jonny May, Wood – who has clocked more than 250 appearances for Gloucester – believes with time class will tell.
“The team that has assembled here really is top notch and is one of the best, if not the best, we’ve had in my time here,” said the prop.
“When any new set of coaches come into a club they will want to build their own team and hopefully I can feature in that – only good things can come out of what is here at the moment.
“With the effort and hard work that has already gone on through the season I believe it’ll only be a matter of time before we can gain the consistency.
“Everyone’s got their own variation and skills that they have brought to the club but on the same note, have bought into the Gloucester identity.
“We have internationals and British & Irish Lions here now that adds to bits to our game and that will only strengthen us.
“I don’t think it was our best defensive effort against Wasps but we didn’t have to make too many tackles. The challenge for us is to be more clinical, putting points on the board because we’ve been able to get the position and territory.”
And Wood says that strength extends to his own area of expertise, as summer acquisitions in Hibbard and John Afoa have added both quality and quantity.
“In the front row the biggest thing is that we’ve got strength and depth across all positions,” he added.
“It’s been important because I’ve been out for two months, Dan Murphy has had his injuries, but it’s huge for us to have someone like Yann Thomas who’s been playing very well.
“Once everyone’s fit and the competition is back to its strongest, that type of environment will give us a further boost.”
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