Gloucester vs Newport LV=Cup Semi preview

International call ups mean that Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Bryan Redpath makes four changes to the side that started against Bath Rugby last Saturday as his side prepare to take on the Dragons on Sunday with a place in the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup final at stake.


The resumption of the RBS Six Nations sees Rory Lawson, Scott Lawson and Alasdair Strokosch named in the Scotland squad while Mike Tindall and Paul Doran-Jones have been with the England squad all week.


As a result, the changes to the team to face the Dragons largely reflect those absences.


Jordi Pasqualin comes in for Rory Lawson at scrum half in the only change to the backline whereas the pack is reshuffled.


Olivier Azam replaces Scott Lawson at hooker and Rupert Harden starts at tight head in place of Paul Doran-Jones.


Finally, the fit again Alex Brown is back to partner Jim Hamilton in the second row.


Talking to the media this week, Redpath shrugged off the disruptions.


“We’ve had injuries and people coming back and forward but that’s the nature of this tournament and this time of the season. We’ve got to get on with it.”


“The key thing is that we understand that it’s a semi final. We’ve got to ignore the past nine weeks and what’s gone on and now really focus on this.”


“We’ve played the Dragons a few times over the past couple of seasons and won some and lost some. We have to get our heads around that.”


“We underperformed down there on a rainy night in the group stages and can’t afford to do that again. It’s a big Anglo Welsh derby and our mindset is going to be the key thing.”


Meanwhile Newport Gwent Dragons Acting Head Coach Darren Edwards has named his team to face Gloucester .


Lock Luke Charteris returns to captain the Men of Gwent, whilst the dangerous back three of Martyn Thomas, Will Harries and Aled Brew are all back having missed last weekend’s away game against Munster, with Adam Hughes as cover on the bench.


Half-backs Jason Tovey and Wayne Evans both start, with Matthew Jones and Jonathan Evans in reserve, whilst centres Tom Riley and Pat Leach complete the backline.


Charteris is joined in the second row by Adam Jones, with Adam Brown on the bench. Lloyd Burns starts at hooker, with Steve Jones, who captained the Men of Gwent in Cork last weekend, as cover. Promising props Phil Price and Dan Way complete the front row, with Hugh Gustafson and Pat Palmer as replacements.


In the back row, Toby Faletau reverts to his usual position at number eight, with Lewis Evans in the openside position Faletau filled last weekend. Blindside flanker Andrew Coombs completes the starting line-up, with Cross Keys captain Jevon Groves providing support from the bench.


The Dragons qualified for the semi-final after topping their pool with wins over the Scarlets, Sale away at Edgeley Park, and Gloucester at Rodney Parade back in November, making them the only Welsh region to qualify for the knock-out stage of any competition this season.


That November game was the Men of Gwent’s first victory over Gloucester, although they have pushed their hosts close at Kingsholm on their previous visits, securing a bonus point on both occasions, most recently in a 19-17 Heineken Cup defeat in 2009.


Locks Rob Sidoli and Scott Morgan, as well as centre Ashley Smith, were ruled out earlier this week following injuries sustained against Munster, joining hooker Tom Willis and prop Nigel Hall on the sidelines. Willis and Hall’s fellow front-rower Ben Castle is in New Zealand for family reasons.


If they are victorious on Sunday the Men of Gwent will qualify for the first final in the Dragons’ short history, against either Harlequins or Newcastle Falcons on Sunday 20 March at Franklin’s Gardens, Northampton.


Darren Edwards said: “I’m so excited for our players. Gloucester are flying high at the moment, but we’re not going th

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