Gloucester Rugby name team for Gallagher Premiership semi-final at Saracens
Gloucester Rugby travel to north London on Saturday to take on Saracens with a place in the Gallagher Premiership Rugby final on the line. Willi Heinz will skipper the side which sees only Charlie Sharples retain his place in the starting line-up from last week’s game away at Sale Sharks.
The Cherry and Whites are no strangers to European knock-out fixtures in recent times, but this is the club’s first appearance in the Premiership semi-finals since the 2010-11 season when they faced Saracens, their opponents on Saturday.
The teams have already met twice this season, with both teams winning their respective home fixture. It will also be the third time that they have met at the semi-final stage – one win apiece.
However, when previewing the game with the media this week, Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Johan Ackermann insisted that what’s come before will count for nothing come kick-off at 1:30pm on Saturday.
“You only get one opportunity, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done before in the previous 22 weeks. It’s a one-off game, no bonus points, the team that finishes one point ahead will win.
“But, from a preparation point of view, you try and keep to the same routine and maintain the same intensity and tick all the normal boxes.
“You have to respect Sarries for what they’ve achieved, they’ve been together for several years, produced many international players and they’re a quality squad. It means it’s a massive challenge.
“We know we’re up against the best team in Europe. We have to believe, trust that our players will be ready and tackle the challenge head on.”
15. Jason Woodward; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Tom Marshall; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8. Ben Morgan
16. Mike Sherry, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Tom Savage, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Jake Polledri, 22. Ben Vellacott, 23. Henry Purdy
Unavailable for selection:
Matt Banahan, James Hanson, Tom Hudson, Ollie Thorley, Henry Trinder, Owen Williams