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PREVIEW: Champions chasing a dozen wins

Thursday 10th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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En danger dans la poule 4 d'European Rugby Challenge Cup

En danger dans la poule 4 d'European Rugby Challenge Cup

Reigning Challenge Cup champions Gloucester Rugby will be seeking a 12th straight win in the tournament when they travel to Sixways looking to put themselves one step closer to the quarter-finals.

Opening round victories over Zebre (23-10) and La Rochelle (33-20) have already put the Cherry & Whites four points clear of their nearest rivals and seemingly given them control of Pool 4. Another win in the all-Premiership clash would a massive step toward their title defence.

Scotland skipper Greig Laidlaw returns to lead the Gloucester side and Henry Trinder gets his first start of the season. Up front, Mariano Galarza starts hving just signed a new contract at the club.

“You can't analyse the group after only two games – the only thing we can do is turn up, play well and win the game. Then return to Kingsholm the following week, play well and win the game,” said head coach Laurie Fisher.

“In terms of the permutations or whatever, it's irrelevant really. It's one game at a time, play well, get your result, move on.

“You only have to look at the competitiveness of Worcester for long periods against Leicester last weekend to show what a quality side they are. They're well coached, well organised and very combative.”

The Warriors were 17-0 ahead at home against Leicester Tigers last weekend before finally falling 29-20 to what Richard Cockerill described as one of the greatest comebacks in Tigers’ history.

Andy Symons wil make his first start for the Warriors in eight months after overcoming a knee problem and will line-up at centre outside former Gloucester favourite Ryan Lamb.

“It’s a big game, a local derby. They beat us very narrowly down there at the start of the season so they have the bragging rights at the moment,” said Lamb.

“They like to throw the ball around so our defence needs to be robust. It’s massively important for us to get back to winning ways after a couple of narrow defeats, especially in Europe.”  

Match Facts

  • Gloucester Rugby won the only previous meeting between these sides in the Challenge Cup, winning 31-23 in the 2005/06 semi-finals.
  • Worcester Warriors have won only two of their last eight matches in the Challenge Cup (D1, L5).
  • However, Worcester have won 23 of their 29 home matches in the Challenge Cup, including victories in their last two home matches.
  • Gloucester Rugby are enjoying their best ever run of form in the Challenge Cup, winning their last 11 matches.
  • Gloucester Rugby have won six of their nine Challenge Cup fixtures against English opposition, including three of their last four.

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REPORT: Gloucester claim bragging rights at Worcester

Thursday 10th December 2015

12:00 am (GMT)

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En déplacement chez son principal rival dans la poule 4

En déplacement chez son principal rival dans la poule 4

Gloucester Rugby made it 12 successive Challenge Cup wins and claimed the local bragging rights with a 34-22 triumph over Worcester Warriors at Sixways.

The sides were locked at 10-10 at half-time after tries from wings Henry Purdy and Dean Hammond. But a second-half onslaught ensured Gloucester took control of Pool Four after Mikey Daniels had made the champions sweat. Purdy crossed again after half-time before Rob Cook, Steve McColl and Billy Twelvetrees sealed a bonus-point win

The local rivals were locked at 0-0 in the first 10 minutes, with neither side prepared to give up any ground. It was Gloucester who landed the first blow with a scrum penalty to give Greig Laidlaw the chance to knock his side in-front, and he obliged for a 3-0 lead.

But Worcester hit-back after 15 minutes through flying wing Hammond. A well constructed backline move allowed Andy Symons to find Hammond in a yard of space, and the South African born wing raced over to put the hosts ahead. Ryan Lamb converted, but the game swung back Gloucester’s way before half-time.

Gareth Milasinovich was shown yellow for continual offending at the set-piece and the Cherry and Whites capitalised. Mark Atkinson delivered a perfectly weighted cross-kick for Purdy to burrow in at the corner, with Laidlaw on target with the conversion to give the champions the lead. But there was enough time for Lamb to hit a late drop-goal to level the scores at 10-10 at half-time.

And it was Purdy who took matters into his own hands once more to put Gloucester in a commanding position. The flying wing popped up in midfield after McColl had made good yardage and barged over. Laidlaw converted to make it 17-10 to Gloucester after 53 minutes. And it got even better for the title holders when Billy Burns found replacement Cook with a perfect flat pass for him to cross at the corner.

But Daniels crashed over with 15 minutes remaining after Lewis Ludlow had been shown yellow to make for a nervy ending. Just when it looked like Worcester were back in it, Laidlaw breaks and finds McColl, who raced over for his third try in three games and the bonus-point. And Twelvetrees put the gloss on the win by leaping to claim Burns’ well placed kick. But there was still time for a late score from Darren O'Shea.

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