TOP BAR - Fixtures

Gloucester Rugby make four changes for visit of Chiefs on Friday

Gloucester Rugby return to Aviva Premiership action at Kingsholm on Friday evening (kick off 7:45pm) and make four changes to the starting line up for the visit of the Exeter Chiefs.

It's the penultimate home game of the season for the Cherry and Whites who will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of exiting the European Rugby Challenge Cup last weekend.

For the visit of high-flying Exeter, there are three changes to the pack and one new face in the back line.

Up front, Yann Thomas will make his first Premiership start of the season having made 12 appearances off the bench, while Jeremy Thrush and Ross Moriarty return in the second row and back row respectively.

The only change in the backs sees Billy Twelvetrees return in the midfield with Henry Trinder moving to the left wing in place of Steve McColl to accommodate him.

The Chiefs also bowed out of European action last weekend, suffering a heart-breaking last-gasp defeat against Wasps but Gloucester Director of Rugby, David Humphreys, is not expecting that defeat to affect the Devon based outfit.

"They were magnificent last week and unlucky to lose. But, throughout the year, they've been very consistent in their performances, which is reflected by their second place position in the Premiership.

"It's a huge test for us, a huge test of the players' character and their ability to bounce back. Many of the recent meetings between us have been one score games, incredibly tight, very small margins.

"They've developed a very good squad, a group of players and a management team who've been together for a long time. They're a good model for a club that's trying to build success based on stability and continuity, with a group of players that have come through your system who understand what the club is all about supplemented with some top quality international players."

And, from Gloucester's perspective, Humphreys is looking to finish the season in a positive manner.

"We've analysed last week's game, but now put that behind us. That's sport, that's all you can do – learn from it and look forward to the next game. It's consistency we're striving for, we put in a good performance against Leicester but then were poor last week.

"That's the challenge for us all. No-one's panicking, it's not a case of throwing everything out and trying to start again. We know we have good players, we've produced some very good performances this season.

"But we now have to go out in these final three games and put in performances that reflect the calibre of player we have, but also give the supporters some belief in the team that going forward we will get it right."

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Marshall; 14. Rob Cook, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Henry Trinder; 10. James Hook, 9. Greig Laidlaw (capt); 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Jeremy Thrush; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Matt Kvesic, 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements:

16. Darren Dawidiuk, 17. Nick Wood, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Elliott Stooke, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Willi Heinz, 22. Ollie Thorley, 23. Jacob Rowan
 

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