TOP BAR - Fixtures

Danny Cipriani back as Gloucester Rugby name side for visit of Munster Rugby in Heineken Champions Cup

Danny Cipriani back as Gloucester Rugby name side for visit of Munster Rugby in Heineken Champions Cup

Munster Rugby are the visitors to Kingsholm in Friday evening’s Heineken Champions Cup fixture (kick off 7:45pm), and Gloucester Rugby are able to welcome back a number of players from injury for the key European encounter.

Returning to the matchday 23 are Danny Cipriani at fly-half and Ollie Thorley on the left wing, while Franco Marais, sidelined since the previous meeting between these two sides, is named amongst the replacements.

Other changes from the side that started at Welford Road against the Leicester Tigers last Saturday see Henry Walker come in at hooker, Franco Mostert move to the blindside flank from the second row with Ed Slater taking Mostert’s place in the engine room and Lewis Ludlow back at openside flanker.

Pool 2 is the tightest of all the groups, with all the teams within four points of each other. The Cherry and Whites have lost their last two Premiership games, but Head Coach Johan Ackermann insists it’s about looking forward and not back.

“Having those losses were disappointing and not good for us. But my message to the players was that history can’t be changed and we can only control what’s in front of us.

“We’ve learned lessons from the past two weeks and implemented them into our training to try and get better. But we’ve not been sulking about it. Friday’s challenge is massive and, if you go into it with a negative mindset, it’s not going to help.

“We’re looking forward to a big challenge against a quality side and, after this weekend, we’ll know where we are in the pool. But we can’t worry about that, we just have to put in a big performance and let the result look after itself.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Hudson; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Franco Mostert, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ben Morgan (captain)

Replacements:

16. Franco Marais, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Owen Williams, 23. Henry Trinder

Unavailable for selection:

Ruan Ackermann, Gareth Denman, Ruan Dreyer, Todd Gleave, James Hanson, Willi Heinz, Jaco Kriel, Tom Marshall, Jake Polledri, Henry Purdy, Val Rapava Ruskin, Will Safe, Tom Savage, Jaco Visagie, Jason Woodward

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