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Preview: Gloucester Academy’s Second Row, Jonno Balding ahead of today’s “exciting” clash with Saracens

Gloucester Rugby U18s and U17s take part in a doubleheader against Saracens at Kingsholm this afternoon.

U18s second row, Jonno Balding reflects on how the Academy’s recent form may impact their performance at the weekend:

“It’s incredibly exciting, I think the boys feel like they have got a lot to prove coming off the back of a loss against Exeter and we would like to regain the form that we had against Harlequins at Kingsholm.”

For the U17s, it has been just under a month since their last game against Harlequins, and the U18s have had two weeks to prep since their clash with Exeter.

Balding reflects on the work the Academy has been putting in during the break in games:

“We have been in here training two to three times a week and the S&C guys have played a massive role in making sure our gym work, fitness, and things like that are ready for Saturday.”

The U18s fell short with a 19-29 defeat when they travelled down to Truro during Storm Isha.

“Obviously at Exeter the conditions were hard, and we struggled in the second half with the wind against us, but I think a key thing we are looking at is bringing our intensity in attack and defence, it’s something that will be massively important, especially against a physical Saracens side.”

Balding hopes the return to Kingsholm will contribute to a winning performance from the young Cherry and Whites.

“I think the four-and-a-half-hour trip down to Exeter played a role, however playing here at Kingsholm, it’s one of the great privileges of being in the Academy here, friends and family are able to watch.”

It is a really special experience and I think that will contribute massively to how we play on Saturday.”

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