Ospreys are the visitors to Kingsholm on Friday evening in round three of the Anglo-Welsh Cup (kick off 7:45pm), and the Cherry and Whites have named a strong side to take on the Welsh region. Freddie Clarke will skipper the side for the first time.
Gloucester are currently in third place in pool 1 of the Anglo-Welsh Cup, two points behind leaders Bath Rugby, so need a win to keep alive their chances of qualifying for the knockout stages.
And, with good squad availability this week, Gloucester have named a strong side for Friday evening’s fixture.
Having signed a new contract earlier this week, Freddie Clarke will skipper a side which features four full internationals, and another amongst the replacements in Matt Scott, and significant first team experience in every position.
Head of Academy Richard Whiffin was on media duties this week, and admitted that qualifying for the semi-finals will be tough but that Gloucester have real motivation for giving it their best shot.
“It’s not 100% in our hands, we’re relying on other results. But if we go out in the next two weeks and get a couple of good wins, it will certainly put us in a good frame of mind for the back end of the year.
“If we do manage to qualify for the knockout stages then happy days, it’d be fantastic especially with the final being at Kingsholm. It’d be a massive thing for the squad to play a final at their own ground.”
And Whiffin acknowledged that the Ospreys are something of an unknown quantity this week having parted company with Head Coach Steve Tandy.
“You always think of that football situation when you get a bounceback with a new manager or a change of coach. We’re unsure of what team they’re going to select, we’re focusing on us but I’m sure, whatever Ospreys team comes, it’ll be a tough game on Friday.
“But it’s about us, getting our game back to where we want it to be and enjoying what we’re doing. So, I expect to see smiles on faces on Friday.”
15. David Halaifonua; 14. Henry Purdy, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Cameron Orr, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Freddie Clarke (capt), 7. Will Safe, 8. Ben Morgan
16. Henry Walker, 17. Paddy McAllister, 18. Gareth Denman, 19. Callum Allen, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Matt Scott, 23. Tom Hudson
Unavailable for selection:
Willi Heinz, Ross Moriarty, Val Rapava Ruskin, Jacob Rowan, Charlie Sharples