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Sharples to notch up 200th competitive Gloucester appearance at Exeter

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Charlie Sharples will make his 200th competitive appearance for Gloucester at Exeter in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday. David Halaifonua will make his first start of the season on the opposite wing and Motu Matu’u is named in the matchday squad for the first time.

Sharples made his debut back in 2007-8 and his appearance at Sandy Park will make him the club’s latest double centurion.

On the other wing, Halaifonua replaces the injured Henry Purdy and Matt Scott returns to partner Billy Twelvetrees in the Gloucester midfield.

In the pack, Paul Doran-Jones comes in for John Afoa who limped off against Bath last week and Gareth Evans starts in place of Ben Morgan who has been away training with England this week.

Meanwhile, amongst the replacements, hooker Motu Matu’u, a summer signing from the Hurricanes, is named in the matchday squad for the first time in place of Darren Dawidiuk.

Director of Rugby David Humphreys told the media this week that the recent defeats have been tough, but that Gloucester will travel to Exeter in a positive frame of mind.

“It’s been a difficult ten days for us all, losing two games at home. Nobody likes losing games, we particularly don’t like losing games at Kingsholm. And both games we could have won.

“Certainly the feeling after Bath was that there were large elements of the performance that were much better than the week before. That’s what we’ve built on getting ready for the challenge of Exeter.

“There’s been lots of our game over the first five matches, despite the results, that’s been pretty good. Really the only very disappointing performance was Newcastle.

“They’re a really good team, they showed it last year with where they finished. They’ve recruited well, had a team that’s been stable for the last number of seasons and have a clear way of playing. We know Exeter have a very good record at Sandy Park, but over the past few years there’s often been only one score between the two sides.

“But we’re looking forward to it, we know we can go down there and perform.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. James Hook; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Matt Scott, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. David Halaifonua; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Greig Laidlaw (capt); 1. Paddy McAllister, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. Paul Doran-Jones; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Jacob Rowan, 8. Gareth Evans

Replacements:

16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Yann Thomas, 18. Nicky Thomas, 19. Joe Latta, 20. Matt Kvesic, 21. Willi Heinz, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Lewis Ludlow

Unavailable for selection:

Josh Hohneck, Darren Dawidiuk, Tom Lindsay, John Afoa, Jeremy Thrush, Sione Kalamafoni, Andy Symons, Henry Trinder, Henry Purdy, Jonny May, Tom Marshall.

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