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PREVIEW: Gloucester bring back big guns

Wednesday 16th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Vainqueur au match aller

Vainqueur au match aller

Gloucester Rugby have called in the big-guns in a bid to complete a European Rugby Challenge Cup double over local rivals Worcester Warriors.

The Cherry and Whites ground Worcester down to earn a bonus-point 34-22 triumph at Sixways last Thursday. The Challenge Cup champions’ 12th successive win in the tournament kept them at the summit of Pool Four, with 13 points from three matches. A triumph in front of the Kingsholm faithful would put them in position to reach the quarter-finals once more, and director of rugby David Humphreys has called in his front-line troops.

Tom Savage will reach a century of appearances for the Kingsholm club as one of ten changes to the victorious side. Scotland scrum-half Greig Laidlaw partners Wales international James Hook as the half-backs, with club captain Billy Twelvetrees back in midfield. Try-scoring machine Jonny May will be hoping to cross for his 16th score on his 29th European appearance.

Director of rugby Humphreys said: “This competition has special meaning for us and we want to progress. We're in the box seat at the moment and things are in our destiny. A top two seeding for the quarter-final is important because there are some great teams in the tournament and securing a quarter-final at Kingsholm, in front of a passionate home support, is ultimately what we want to do.”

The Warriors need a victory to keep their Challenge Cup hopes alive. Director of Rugby Dean Ryan has made five changes to the pack that were beaten up-front last week. An all-change front row sees Val Rapava Ruskin, Ben Sowrey and Mike Daniels promoted from the subs bench while Fijian lock Tevita Cavubati comes into the starting line-up next to Dan Sanderson.

Sam Betty will start in the back row alongside Carl Kirwan and Marco Mama as Warriors go in search of a second win in Pool 4 against their local rivals.  

Worcester Head Coach Carl Hogg said: “It's a European game so it's got its own rights and playing against Gloucester is always a special fixture.

“It does give us an opportunity to see how some of our younger players are progressing and asks questions of whether they're capable of playing in the Premiership.”

Match Facts

  • Gloucester have won both their matches against Worcester in the Challenge Cup after a 34-22 victory in the last round.
  • Gloucester will be aiming for a 13th consecutive win overall and seventh straight victory at home in the Challenge Cup; it would be their second longest home winning streak in the competition (W10, 1997-2002)
  • Gloucester have won six of their last eight matches against English opponents in the Challenge Cup.
  • Worcester Warriors haven’t beaten a fellow English side since the 2007/08 semi-final when they defeated Newcastle Falcons 31-16.

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REPORT: Gloucester break Challenge Cup record

Thursday 17th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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Sono ben 8 le squadre capaci di ottenere una vittoria con bonus nella prima giornata del torneo. Edinburgh riscrive il proprio record segnando 9 mete in Romania mentre l'Enisei batte Worcester. Jonny May torna dopo 10 mesi e lancia Gloucester. - 16/10/2016 09:11

Sono ben 8 le squadre capaci di ottenere una vittoria con bonus nella prima giornata del torneo. Edinburgh riscrive il proprio record segnando 9 mete in Romania mentre l'Enisei batte Worcester. Jonny May torna dopo 10 mesi e lancia Gloucester. - 16/10/2016 09:11

Gloucester Rugby broke the record for most the successive Challenge Cup wins and tightened their grip on Pool 4 with a 27-13 triumph over local rivals Worcester Warriors.

Greig Laidlaw’s 22-point haul and a try from former Worcester favourite Matt Kvesic saw the Cherry and Whites break Sale Sharks’ record with their 13th straight triumph. Ben Howard impressed again with a try, but it was not enough to keep Worcester’s qualification hopes alive.

Gloucester have 17 points from four rounds of European action and look set to march into the quarter-finals once again. Just like last week, it was the Warriors who scored the game’s first try after Laidlaw and Ryan Lamb had exchanged penalties.

Worcester secured turnover ball and eventually shovelled it out to Andy Symons, who stepped to make a half-break before feeding Howard, who showcased his pace to race in from 50 metres out. Lamb converted to give Worcester an early 10-3 lead.

But their advantage was short-lived. A Worcester attack had the hosts scrambling, but full-back Rob Cook collected and side-stepped his way out of trouble. The ball was worked across the field before Jonny May got his hands on it and kicked downfield.

The visitors could not gather and May stole in and found Laidlaw with a quick pass, and all the Scotland scrum-half had to do was waltz over before hitting the target with the conversion. Laidlaw landed a penalty to make it 16-10 at half-time before notching another after the break to make it 19-10.

Both sides swapped penalties again before Kvesic broke his former side’s hearts with a try, as he was shunted over the line from a close-range lineout.

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