Bath have had a coaching reshuffle this summer, with Gary Gold becoming Director of Rugby and Mike Ford becoming the new Head Coach who will oversee the day-to-day preparation of the side. Ford decided that they would take the team away on a 'punishing week-long training camp' to Poland. The training base in Spala includes a cryotherapy chamber where players endure temperatures of -130C. Ford revealed in an interview that the camp would be full on and that "the players will be up at seven and falling into bed at nine at night."
Gloucester have also had a small coaching reshuffle this summer with Carl Hogg leaving the club and Andrew Stanley would become the new forwards coach for the side this season. Nigel Davies said that 'Stan' was the right person for the job: ""Stan has impressed everyone at the club over the past 12 months with his rugby knowledge and also his strong work ethic. He's Gloucester Rugby through and through, totally buys into what we're trying to achieve and is completely committed to doing what's best for the club."
For their pre-season, Saracens started on the 1st July with over 40 players starting to try and get them finishing in the top four again and Jackson Wray commented that he was impressed with the intensity of the squad: "We are working harder than maybe anticipated, but the lads look fresh and are really getting stuck in". There is some bad news though, as Alex Goode has been ruled out the beginning of the season, due to having shoulder reconstruction surgery in the summer. He will though join his team-mates on a pre-season training camp of South Africa next month along with Owen Farrell, Brad Barritt, Matt Stevens and Mako Vunipola who have been given extra time off following the Lions tour.
Worcester Warriors have arguably have had the biggest reshuffle of any club with an entire new coaching setup following the appointment of Dean Ryan as Director of Rugby. He has brought in Carl Hogg, Simon Cross, Shane Howarth, Sam Vesty and Ceri Jones all to help with the coaching and so far it has gone OK. They returned to training in early June, with the squad reaping the benefits. Josh Matavesi revealed it has been the toughest pre-season regime he has taken part in and praised the new set-up:"The way we've been training lately has been really helping my game. Bringing in the extra detail has been good for us."
Exeter returned to pre-season training and have been on a few trips to try and get the team bonding, including going to Spain and also venturing down to nearby Exmouth Beach. They also went to the University of St Mark & St John in Plymouth for an extensive work-out. The Chiefs not only engaged in swimming, wall climbing, reaction testing and weightlifting, but endurance and stamina work were also put to the test in a series of tests, including working at 96% humidity in temperatures of up to 35 degrees in the centre's sealed training chamber.
Leicester Tigers haven't had the best of starts to pre-season training with the news that Richard Cockerill has been banned for 9 games after being found guilty of using obscene, inappropriate and/or unprofessional language and behaviour towards fourth official Stuart Terheege after reacting to a tackle on Toby Flood at the Aviva Premiership Final. However, on appeal, the ban has been moved to include two pre-season friendlies - against Ulster and Jersey. This means he is unable to coach the team on matchdays so will leave those roles to new assistant coaches Paul Burke and Geordan Murphy.
Northampton Saints returned to pre-season training wanting to go one further this year and win the Premiership and not get beaten in the final again. Off the field though however, there has been news regarding a new stand at Franklin's Gardens. Northampton Saints' board has agreed to enter formal negotiations with the town's council over a loan to fund a new £5m stand at the ground. The club will also apply to Northampton Borough Council for planning consent for the new North Stand.
Quins returned to pre-season with the news that Ollie Kohn and Will Skinner have had to retire from the game because of injuries. Skinner has had a troublesome neck injury for a year, whereas Kohn has had a shoulder injury which was worse than first feared. They have quickly moved to replace them though by signing Nick Kennedy from Toulon. For their pre-season they are travelling to Geneva where they are taking part in a brand new rugby festival between Leicester, Racing Metro and Montpellier.
On their return to the Premiership, Newcastle Falcons have been working hard and started back training towards the end of June and in one team-bonding exercise, they did things rather differently and took the team paintballing. They travelled to the Delta Force complex in Seaton Burn and it was a chance for the new recruits to break the ice with their new teammates. Fraser McKenzie, who joined in the summer, said of the event: "When it came to paintball it was forwards versus backs which probably a bad move as there was a lot of young backs!"
London Wasps returned to pre-season training in July and Dai Young has demanded greater consistency from his side to try and get his side to finish higher up in the table than eighth. He said: "We had plaudits for picking young players but at the end of the day we finished eighth. Players have put themselves in the limelight, but the next target is proving they can do it week in, week out, and that there's more to come."
London Irish want to try and avoid being in a relegation battle this season so have been working hard in pre-season. Brian Smith has already said he wants his side to start strongly. He said: "We really do want to hit the ground running .We finished last season very strongly but we just didn't get momentum early. And in sport, business or most things in life, momentum is really important because your confidence and expectation is fuelled from that early momentum. We didn't get traction at the start of last season, so we want to be the first team back (in pre-season) for a reason."