Preview: Gloucester v Sale

Top-of-the-table Gloucester are boosted by the return of three more World Cup stars for the visit of Sale to Kingsholm on Saturday.

Italy skipper Marco Bortolami, Fijian flank Akapusi Qera and Scotland scrum-half Rory Lawson have all been named on the bench as the hosts look to make it five Premiership wins from five.

Head coach Dean Ryan has also made two changes to his front-row with Nick Wood and Andy Titterrell replacing Patrice Collazo and Olivier Azam respectively.

Elsewhere, Ryan Lamb comes back into the starting XV, whilst Peter Buxton moves from lock to back-row to cover the injured Andy Hazell.

“We have always said we will select a side we believe is right for each individual game,” said Ryan.

“But it doesn’t matter who we select, it is up to us to impose our game on the opposition.

“Our squad is getting stronger all the time and our returning World Cup players are key to that process. It is up to them to fit in with what we are trying to build – we have made a very encouraging start and that is something we want to maintain.

“Sale are a very good side, who will look to pressurise us with high field position and a World class number ten in Charlie Hodgson. We must be ready for that challenge and rise to it.”

Hodgson is joined at half-back by Sililo Martens with the Sharks also welcoming back World Cup personnel.

Scottish pairing Jason White and Scott Lawson make the bench, whilst prop Benoit Bourrust and loose-forward Genaro Fessia are handed extremely tough debut assignments.

“We’ve a lot of respect for Gloucester, who’ve made a fantastic start,” said head coach Kingsley Jones.

“Their confidence must be high, and we know how tough it can be at Kingsholm. However, we travel with a good win against London Wasps behind us, and we played well at Bath in our last away match.

“We’re pleased to include Benoit and Genaro in the starting fifteen: there’s no better place to show what you can do.”

Form: The formbook certainly points to the hosts in this fixture with Sale failing to win at Kingsholm since August 2000. The Sharks’ two victories this season have both come at Edgeley Park; however, away from home Saint-Andre’s men have yet to win in their last ten attempts. Meanwhile, Gloucester remain unbeaten with their last league defeat coming back in April.

The teams:

15 Olly Morgan, 14 Leon Lloyd, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 James Bailey, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Alasdair Strokosch, 6 Peter Buxton (c), 5 Alex Brown, 4 Will James, 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Olivier Azam, 17 Christian Califano, 18 Marco Bortolami, 19 Akapusi Qera, 20 Mike Prendergast, 21 Willie Walker, 22 Iain Balshaw.

Sale: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Julien Laharrague, 13 Elvis Seveali’i, 12 Rudi Keil, 11 Oriol Ripol, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Sililo Martens, 8 Genaro Fessia, 7 Magnus Lund, 6 Chris Jones, 5 Sean Cox, 4 Dean Schofield (c), 3 Benoit Bourrust, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Lionel Faure.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Ben Evans, 18 Christian Day, 19 Jason White, 20 Richard Wigglesworth, 21 Rhys Jones, 22 Chris Bell.

Date: Saturday, 13 October 2007
Kick-off: 15:00 BST (14:00 GMT)
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Ashley Rowden
Touch judges: Andrew Pearce, Martin Buck
Assessor: Brian Campsall
Television match official: Brian Abrahams

365 Digital

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