Gloucester make three changes for Gallagher Premiership Rugby visit of Bristol Bears
Gloucester Rugby have made three changes to their starting line-up for the Gallagher Premiership Rugby clash against Bristol Bears at Kingsholm on Friday night.
It’s the second West Country derby in succession for the Cherry and Whites, who drew 31-31 against Bath Rugby at the Rec last weekend.
Set to make their first competitive starts for Gloucester Rugby are the South African summer signings of Franco Marais (hooker) and Gerbrandt Grobler (second row). The final change sees Jake Polledri come into the back row with Ruan Ackermann switching from the flank to number eight.
Head Coach Johan Ackermann admitted that last weekend’s at Bath had been an eventful one, but a good learning experience.
“There were some highlights and some low moments,” he said. “We were in control and then let it slip, but credit to the players for coming back and getting three points out of the game.
“As a group we learned a lot. We didn’t respect the ball enough, we lost possession in contact, we tried to force offloads. And one or two skill errors cost us, not just in terms of momentum but because they (Bath) got points from them.”
— Gloucester Rugby (@gloucesterrugby) September 12, 2018
But this weekend, the Bristol Bears are the opposition and Ackermann admits that last year’s promotion winners are acquitting themselves well in the Gallagher Premiership.
“There is a bit more footage on them now that we can analyse, look at their strengths and see if there are any areas that we can hopefully exploit. But they’ve already shown what we knew before the season started – that they’ve going to be highly competitive, well coached and with a lot of X factor across the board.
“They’ve proved that at Saracens last weekend, they proved it in round one. They’re not here just to make up numbers in the competition, they’ve made it quite clear they want to stay in the Premiership and they’ve going to be highly motivated and very tough to beat. We’ll obviously have to be at our best.”
Gloucester Rugby: 15. Jason Woodward; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Matt Banahan; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Val Rapava Ruskin, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater (capt), 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ruan Ackermann
Replacements: 16. James Hanson, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Tom Hudson
Unavailable for selection: Gareth Denman, Ruan Dreyer, Willi Heinz, Jaco Kriel, Tom Marshall, Paddy McAllister, Henry Purdy, Tom Savage, Ollie Thorley