Gloucester Rugby v London Irish preview

Gloucester Rugby have won their last six games in all competitions, since their 13-15 defeat at Leeds Carnegie in Aviva Premiership Rugby on New Year’s Day.

Gloucester are unbeaten in their last 14 Premiership encounters at Kingsholm since Wasps won there on 24 October 2009.

Rory Lawson and Scott Lawson are both back from Scotland duty, whilst Olly Morgan returns from injury for Gloucester Rugby.

All three missed out on the 10-9 win at Adams Park against London Wasps last weekend but return to the starting line up for the visit of the Exiles to Kingsholm.

Morgan’s return to the back three is particularly timely given that James Simpson-Daniel picked up an ankle injury against Wasps which, following Lesley Vainikolo’s recent shoulder injury, could have stretched resources. Charlie Sharples moves from full back to wing to accommodate Morgan.

Meanwhile, the two Lawsons are back from Scotland duty and replace Dave Lewis and Darren Dawidiuk in the starting line up. With those exceptions, Head Coach Bryan Redpath keeps faith with the side that won in Wycombe.

The two sides met at Kingsholm in the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup only a fortnight ago with Gloucester coming out on top by 41 points to 8 but no-one in the Gloucester camp is expecting a repeat of that result as Head Coach Redpath explained.

“London Irish are a good side. They’ve just had a lack of confidence and a loss of form. That can happen to anyone.”

“They didn’t perform well last time and they’ll be here to prove a point. They got a win last weekend and they’ll have nothing to lose coming to Gloucester. They’ll learn from the last two weeks and they’ll be fired up.”

Gloucester played similar back to back home games against Saracens back in the Autumn and Redpath pointed out that the Men in Black were far tougher the second time around.

“You saw the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup game against Saracens and then the Aviva Premiership Rugby game against them a couple of weeks later which went from a comfortable win to a narrow six point victory. Friday will be tough and it will be close.”

“We’re not getting carried away. Every game is now a cup final and we’ve got to make sure we win as many as we can if we’re going to be in that top four.”

London Irish’s unwanted sequence of six successive Premiership losses came to an end at home to Newcastle on Saturday. The Exiles have not won away from home in any competition since their trip to Exeter in the Premiership on 23 October.

The last nine meetings between the two clubs in all competitions have all gone the way of the home side on the day. Irish have not won at Kingsholm since a 13-9 victory on 28 January 2006.

Tom Homer returns to the London Irish side this week to make his first appearance for three and a half months after recovering from injury and is one of four changes for London Irish ahead of tomorrow night’s Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture against Gloucester at Kingsholm Stadium.

Tom comes in on the wing to replace Sailosi Tagicakibau who injured his arm in last week’s victory over Newcastle. Darren Allinson, who played 60 minutes, last week, starts at scrum half. Chris Malone steps in at fly half and Faan Rautenbach comes back into the front row.

London Irish head coach Toby Booth Said: “Last Saturday’s win against Newcastle was a step in the right direction. We will look to build on the momentum we gained last week and take it into tomorrow night’s game.

“The league is very close this year and a win this weekend keeps us right in the mix for a play-off position come the end of the season.”

The Bookies have given the The Bookies have given London Irish a 7 point start for this match – free £ 25 bet for new customers.

Match : Gloucester Rugby v London Irish

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