Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby Premiership Preview

Gloucester host Bath at Kingsholm

Gloucester have named a team with seven changes for their west country derby match against Bath at Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday

Some of the changes are tactical, while some are injury enforced as the Cherry and Whites look to get back to winning ways after successive away defeats at Worcester and London Irish.

There are changes on both wings as David Halaifonua replaces the injured Charlie Sharples and Steve McColl comes in for Henry Trinder. The other new face in the back line sees Greig Laidlaw return from Scotland duty and resume the captaincy.

In the pack, Paddy McAllister has recovered from injury and replaces Nick Wood, while Darren Dawidiuk takes over from Richard Hibbard at hooker.

Tom Savage comes in to partner Jeremy Thrush in the second row in place of Mariano Galarza and Ross Moriarty, fresh from scoring two tries for Wales on his Six Nations bow, is back at number eight.

Bath are expected to name a number of Six Nations participants in their squad, and will come to Kingsholm looking to make amends for Gloucester winning in the first meeting between the two sides this season, at the Rec back in February.

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for Gloucester, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys stressed that the squad have been working hard this week in training to get back on track.

“You never focus too much on any one particular performance. We know the past two weeks haven’t been as good as we would like them to be. So, it’s been a case, since we came in this week, of working in training on the things that we need to improve upon.

“There are things we know we can do better, and there are things we know we need to do better if we want to beat Bath this weekend.

“Bath have a lot of international players and they’ve been affected by those players being away at the World Cup and the Six Nations. They’ve shown what a good team they are but we also know how good a team we can be.

“Every player who represents Gloucester understands the significance of this weekend’s game. We saw that massive emotional performance when we won down at the Rec a few weeks ago. That’s the standard we need to produce and I’ve no doubt we’ll get a reaction from the players this weekend.”

Gloucester Rugby’s last six matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst the Cherry & White’s only reversal at Kingsholm in any tournament since October was 18-19 to Leicester on 30th January.

Bath Rugby’s last four Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters have all gone in favour of the home side, whilst Bath’s only away win in the tournament since round 4 came at Worcester on 13th February.

Gloucester beat Bath 15-11 at the Recreation Ground on 15th February but have not achieved a season’s Premiership double over their near rivals since 2011/12.

Bath have been victorious on their last two visits to Kinghsolm in Aviva Premiership Rugby – no visiting team has ever won three successive Premiership Rugby fixtures at the famous old ground.

Bath have named Nathan Catt to make his first start of the Premiership season

Elsewhere in the side that features 10 changes – two of which are positional – to the one that beat Newcastle Falcons last weekend, Bath will have their full complement of Grand Slam heroes on the field for their visit to Kingsholm as George Ford, Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson all start.

Catt starts alongside Rob Webber and Henry Thomas in the front row, whilst in the boiler room are Charlie Ewels and Dominic Day. Francois Louw wears the captain’s armband on the openside, packing down in the back row with blindside Matt Garvey and number eight Leroy Houston.

Watson – joint-top try-scorer for England in the 2016 Six Nations, along with Joseph – returns at fullback, in a back three also featuring wings Semesa Rokoduguni and Matt Banahan. Ollie Devoto slots in at inside centre to partner Joseph in midfield, and fly-half Ford joins scrum-half Chris Cook in the half-backs.

Match : Gloucester Rugby v Bath Rugby
Date : Saturday 26 March
Venue : Kingsholm,
Kick Off : 5.30pm
Live on: N.A
Match Officials
Referee : Wayne Barnes (166th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Gareth Copsey & Andrew Pearce.
TMO: Geoff Warren


Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Marshall; 14. David Halaifonua, 13. Bill Meakes, 12. Billy Twelvetrees (capt), 11. Steve McColl; 10. James Hook, 9. Greig Laidlaw (capt); 1. Paddy McAllister, 2. Darren Dawidiuk, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Jeremy Thrush; 6. Sione Kalamafoni, 7. Matt Kvesic, 8. Ross Moriarty

Replacements: 16. Richard Hibbard, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Mariano Galarza, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Henry Trinder


15 Anthony Watson , 14 Semesa Rokoduguni , 13 Jonathan Joseph , 12 Ollie Devoto , 11 Matt Banahan , 10 George Ford , 9 Chris Cook , 1 Nathan Catt , 2 Rob Webber , 3 Henry Thomas , 4 Charlie Ewels , 5 Dominic Day , 6 Matt Garvey , 7 Francois Louw (c) , 8 Leroy Houston

Replacements: 16 Tom Dunn , 17 Max Lahiff , 18 David Wilson , 19 Amanaki Mafi , 20 Guy Mercer , 21 Jonathan Evans , 22 Rhys Priestland , 23 Horacio Agulla

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