It’s a short hop up the M5 for Gloucester Rugby on Saturday as they continue their Aviva Premiership campaign at Sixways against the Worcester Warriors, and the Cherry and Whites make two changes to their starting line-up.
It’s a local derby with a lot riding on it for both sides, with Gloucester looking to maintain their challenge for a top four spot while Worcester look to ease further clear of London Irish at the foot of the table.
Gloucester make two changes to the side that started last weekend’s win over the Leicester Tigers. Both are injury enforced with Ollie Thorley and Willi Heinz replaced by Matt Scott and Ben Vellacott respectively.
And there are also two changes in the replacements as Callum Braley and Owen Williams come into the matchday squad.
Previewing the game with the local media this week, Head Coach Johan Ackermann acknowledged Worcester’s recent form but stressed that the Cherry and Whites are focusing on their own game.
“They were just tremendous in defence and forced Exeter into a lot of turnovers and mistakes. They were physical at the breakdown and obviously went down there with a lot of self-belief. It shows how teams at this level are so well matched.
“They’ll believe that they can back that performance up and they’re playing at home, so they’ll see themselves as favourites.
“But we have our own challenges and our own reasons to perform. We also have the challenge of backing up our own performance last weekend.
“We have to focus on ourselves and ensure that we play at our level and, with all due respect, not worry too much about the opposition. We obviously have a plan in place but, this weekend, it’s all about the 80 minutes and making sure we turn up.”
15. Jason Woodward; 14. Tom Marshall, 13. Matt Scott, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Henry Trinder; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Ben Vellacott; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. James Hanson, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage (capt), 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ruan Ackermann
16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Fraser Balmain, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Freddie Clarke, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Owen Williams, 23. Mark Atkinson
Unavailable for selection:
Lloyd Evans, David Halaifonua, Willi Heinz, Ross Moriarty, Henry Purdy, Val Rapava Ruskin, Jacob Rowan, Charlie Sharples, Andy Symons, Ollie Thorley