Thursday, 28 November 2013

Gloucester Preview

Richard Cockerill makes 5 changes to his Leicester side that struggled to victory against London Irish as they travel to face Gloucester at Kingsholm.  The Cherry 'n' Whites have recalls for Dan Robson, Darren Dawiduick and Lua Lokotui after their defeat away to Harlequins.

Tigers and Gloucester share a long rivalry; their first meeting was in 1891 and Friday night's is the 212th clash with the west country giants.  Recent history favours Gloucester with Tigers only winning once in the past 4 visits to their Kingsholm citadel but the Elver Eaters form this season has been poor.  Gloucester have won only one home league game all season; and that was with the controversial Northampton game.

With Tigers crippling injury crisis claiming another victim last week in Matt Smith the count now stands at 14 (Hawkins, Mulipola, Slater, Parling, Croft, Mafi, Steele, Lamb, Allen, Tuilagi, Smith, Goneva, Camacho & Tait) so Tigers will be hard pressed to justify their tag as bookies favourites.

Ayerza returns for his first start of the season after missing the early season with Argentina.  He joins Tom Youngs and Dan Cole in an all international front row.

Deacon and Kitchener continue in the engine room whilst Jamie Gibson gets another chance after failing to impress against London Irish.  Thomas Waldrom rotates with Jordan Crane at 8.

England half backs Youngs and Flood continue with Dan Bowden at 12.  For the injured Matt Smith Adam Thompstone moves to the centres.  The back three sees a controversial selection as Niall Morris misses out completely.  USA international Blaine Scully is preferred on the wing whilst Hamilton gets the nod at full back.  Miles Benjamin completes the team.

Morris's international call up and LV break seem to have done him more harm than good.

Javiah Pohe, the physical Cornish-kiwi centre, could make his Premiership debut if he features from the bench.  Sam Harrison is preferred to David Mele as reserve scrum half.  Mele would not cope well with the Shed so this is probably for the best.  Harrison will make his 50th appearance for the first team if required.

Tomorrow's referee is Greg Garner.  Garner, previously a school teacher in Surrey, went to the same Coventry private school in the same year group as Tigers legend Andy Goode.  With his white boots, spray tan and suspiciously white teeth he is very much of the modern generation of show off refs.  He has a strong reputation as a "homer" and a vocal Shed will be sure to offer plenty of advice should be stray from that reputation.

15 Scott Hamilton
14 Blaine Scully
13 Adam Thompstone
12 Dan Bowden
11 Miles Benjamin
10 Toby Flood (c)
9 Ben Youngs
1 Marcos Ayerza
2 Tom Youngs
3 Dan Cole
4 Louis Deacon
5 Graham Kitchener
6 Jamie Gibson
7 Julian Salvi
8 Thomas Waldrom

16 Neil Briggs
17 Boris Stankovich
18 Fraser Balmain
19 Sebastian De Chaves
20 Jordan Crane
21 Sam Harrison
22 Owen Williams
23 Javiah Pohe

Gloucester Rugby: 
15 Rob Cook
14 Shane Monahan
13 Henry Trinder
12 Billy Twelvetrees
11 Jonny May
10 Freddie Burns
9 Dan Robson
1 Nick Wood
2 Darren Dawidiuk
3 Shaun Knight
4 Lua Lokotui
5 James Hudson
6 Tom Savage (c)
7 Matt Kvesic
8 Ben Morgan. Replacements: 
16 Huia Edmonds
17 Yann Thomas
18 Rupert Harden
19 Elliott Stooke
20 Matt Cox
21 Jimmy Cowan
22 Mike Tindall
23 Martyn Thomas.

Gloucester Kit:

Leicester Kit:

Referee: Greg Garner
Touch Judges: Paul Burton & Gareth Copsey
TV: Live on BT Sport 1HD, 7:00 PM Friday 29 Nov (K.O. 7:45)

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