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Gloucester Rugby change three for European quarter-final against Cardiff

Gloucester Rugby make three changes to the starting line-up, two injury-enforced and one tactical, for Saturday’s European Rugby Challenge Cup quarter-final at home to Cardiff Blues (kick off 8:05pm).

Gloucester return to European action on Saturday evening in what could well be a classic Anglo-Welsh encounter against the Blues.

Fresh off a 32-14 Premiership victory over Bristol Rugby last weekend, Gloucester make two changes in the backs and one in the pack.

David Halaifonua and Andrew Symons both picked up injuries at Ashton Gate and are replaced by Charlie Sharples and Billy Twelvetrees respectively, while Ross Moriarty returns in place of Sione Kalamafoni.

And, amongst the replacements, there is a return for Mark Atkinson who has been sidelined since the game at La Rochelle in mid-December.

Previewing the game with the local media this week, Director of Rugby David Humphreys confirmed the significance of the game but admitted that the whole squad are looking forward to it.

“We know how important this game is, it’s been in the background now for a few weeks. It’s a knockout competition, one that we’ve enjoyed over the course of the last couple of years, and everyone’s looking forward to it.

“But we’re conscious that we’ve got to build on last week’s performance which was good, but we’ve got to be better this weekend.”

Reiterating the need for a good performance is the memory of 12 months ago, when Gloucester bowed out of the competition at the same stage, beaten late on by the Newport Gwent Dragons.

“For a lot of us, last year against the Dragons was a particular low point. We know how important this game is for us in the content of the season, we’ve talked all along about the opportunities to qualify for the Champions Cup next year.

“We want to get back to Kingsholm, show our supporters what this team is all about, build on last week’s performance and build back a bit of pride with a big performance. Knockout rugby brings its own pressures, but I know we’ll respond to it this weekend.

Gloucester Rugby:

 

  1. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Jonny May; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Paddy McAllister, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. Josh Hohneck; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Jeremy Thrush; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Jacob Rowan, 8. Ben Morgan

 

Replacements:

 

  1. Motu Matu’u, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. John Afoa, 19. Mariano Galarza, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Henry Purdy

 

Unavailable for selection:

 

Joe Latta, Gareth Evans, Greig Laidlaw, James Hook, Matt Scott, Andy Symons, David Halaifonua, Ollie Thorley

Tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final is on 27 May at Twickenham are now on sale. If you want to have an unforgettable day out at club rugby’s best Cup Final then click here for tickets.

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