Gloucester v Sale Sharks Premiership Preview

Gloucester have named England international Matt Kvesic to make his full debut for the club in their Aviva Premiership opener against Sale Sharks at Kingsholm on Saturday.

Kvesic will feature in a back row alongside England team mate Ben Morgan and Tongan international Sione Kalamafoni in a side captained by Tom Savage.

The rest of the starting line up has a familiar look to it, with Gloucester again fielding an all English qualified back line.

Tight head prop Rupert Harden returns after missing the end of last season through injury, as does winger James Simpson-Daniel.

Amongst the replacements, summer signings Dan George and Tavis Knoyle could both feature for Gloucester Rugby in the Aviva Premiership for the first time, while England U20 international Elliott Stooke provides the second row cover.

Director of Rugby Nigel Davies admitted this week that he’s glad to get the season underway and that he’s expecting a tough encounter against Sale.

“The preparations have been good and we’ve built our intensity throughout our preseason campaign and in our training.

“The boys will be expecting a really tough battle on Saturday, Sale won’t want a repeat of last season and they’ll be doing their upmost to get off to a good start.

“We’ll have to be on our game to get a result. It’s about winning and developing that mentality.

“People expect you to win when you play at home. We’re looking at the processes of winning and, if we get those right, then we’ll do well.

“Right now, it’s about getting started and I can’t wait.”

Gloucester Rugby have lost in round one of Aviva Premiership Rugby in the last three seasons, whilst Gloucester’s only home defeat in the Premiership since the opening round last season came on 5 January with a 12-18 reversal to London Irish.

Sale Sharks have lost their opening Premiership fixture for the past two seasons and have not won away from home since beating London Welsh at Kassam Stadium on 17 February.

The last ten clashes between the two sides in all competitions have been split five wins apiece with no side managing to achieve successive wins.

The Sharks have won just once at Kingsholm in their last 14 visits since 2000: 24-19 in the Premiership on 21 April 2012.

Sale Sharks Director of Rugby Steve Diamond has given five of his close season signings debuts in the starting line up, with two of the other new signings, Kirill Kulemin and Joe Ford on the bench.

Match : Gloucester Rugby v Sale Sharks
Date : Saturday 7th September
Venue : Kingsholm
Kick Off : 3pm
Live on: N/A
Match Officials
Referee:
Andrew Small (86th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees: Kevin Stewart and Nigel Carrick
TMO: Geoff Warren.

Teams

Gloucester

Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Henry Trinder, Billy Twelvetrees, James Simpson-Daniel; Freddie Burns, Dan Robson; Nick Wood, Darren Dawidiuk, Rupert Harden; Tom Savage (capt), Lua Lokotui; Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Kvesic, Ben Morgan

Replacements: Dan George, Dan Murphy, Yann Thomas, Elliott Stooke, Akapusi Qera, Tavis Knoyle, Mike Tindall, Martyn Thomas

Sale Sharks

Tom Arscott, Phil McKenzie, Andy Forsyth, Jonny Leota, Mark Cueto, Nick Macleod, Dwayne Peel, Eifion Lewis Roberts, Marc Jones, Henry Thomas, Johnathan Mills, Michael Paterson, Dan Braid Captain, David Seymour, James Gaskell

Replacements Tommy Taylor, Ross Harrison, Vadim Cobilas, Kirill Kulemin, Josh Beaumont, Will Cliff, Joe Ford, Rob Miller

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