TOP BAR - Fixtures

Thrush takes over Gloucester Rugby captaincy against Sale Sharks

Thrush takes over Gloucester Rugby captaincy against Sale Sharks

Jeremy Thrush will skipper Gloucester for the first time and Freddie Clarke will make his Aviva Premiership bow as the Cherry and Whites welcome Sale Sharks to Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 3pm).

Gloucester make eight changes following the bruising encounter against the Newcastle Falcons last Friday evening, the majority of them in the pack where only John Afoa and Mariano Galarza retain their places.

Back into the starting line-up come Josh Hohneck, Richard Hibbard, Jeremy Thrush, Ross Moriarty and Lewis Ludlow. And, after featuring in the Anglo-Welsh and European Rugby Challenge Cup this season, Freddie Clarke will make his Aviva Premiership debut.

There are fewer changes in the back line. It’s a different half-back pairing, but a familiar one as Callum Braley and Billy Burns start at scrum-half and fly-half respectively.

And, amongst the replacements, Academy and England U20 prop Ciaran Knight could make his first Premiership appearance if he takes the field of play.

Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell was on media duties this week and is expecting a tough examination against Steve Diamond’s Sale side who are just six points and two places behind Gloucester in the Premiership table.

“If you look at Sale’s performances of late, they’ve been much improved. They went through a difficult patch and they seem to have found their feet again.

“They’ve been playing some really good rugby, I think they’ve got some real quality in their side that, with the grounds getting harder, they’re using now. I think they’re a more confident side than they were when we first met them.

“We’ve also changed a little bit and we’re excited about this weekend, about bringing them to Kingsholm and executing what we want to do when we step out onto the pitch.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Jonny May; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Jeremy Thrush (capt), 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Ross Moriarty, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Freddie Clarke

Replacements:

16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Paddy McAllister, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Tom Savage, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. David Halaifonua

Unavailable for selection:

Salesi Ma’afu, Gareth Evans, Jacob Rowan, Willi Heinz, Greig Laidlaw, James Hook, Matt Scott, Andy Symons, Henry Purdy

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