THE KINGSHOLM Supporters Mutual (KSM) will hold a collection tomorrow night for the Matt Hampson Trust Fund - and have called upon the club's supporters to once again demonstrate their legendary generosity to support a good cause.
Volunteer members of KSM will be conducting a bucket collection both before and at half-time of the match on Friday, February 10 (7.45).
The collection will be in aid of the Matt Hampson Trust, a fund set up to raise money for Matt Hampson, a young prop forward from Leicester who is disabled as a result of a serious neck injury sustained in England Under-21 training.
The collection comes only a matter of weeks after an email appeal to raise funds to buy sets of kit for the junior teams of Steau Bucharesti (Gloucester's opponents in the European Challenge Cup).
That appeal saw an outstanding response with over £2,000 pledged in a matter of days, sufficient to buy sets of kit for all four of the club's youth sides. The response is all the more remarkable considering it coincided with a kit appeal on behalf of the Rugby Charity, SOS IRB KitAid, which also saw an excellent response.
Bob Rumble, Chairman of KSM said: "Gloucester supporters are renowned for their passionate support for the club but we are now building a growing reputation for our collective response to a number of charitable appeals.
"The camaraderie between our fans and those of other clubs would be the envy of many a sport. I think it is very fitting that we should all do our utmost to support an appeal for somebody whose life has been so adversely affected in the pursuit of this sport that we all know and love.
"I am indebted to Gloucester Rugby for allowing us to make this collection on the most appropriate of fixtures, given Leicester was Matt's club. Notwithstanding the fact that this fixture is on an international weekend, Friday night games are always well attended at Gloucester, due to the large number of people who play locally on Saturday afternoons. As a result I am optimistic of us raising a substantial sum."
Gloucester Rugby's managing director Ken Nottage added: "Throughout the Premiership, thoughts are with Matt and the courageous way he has battled his injury - it truly has been an inspiration.
"The KSM does outstanding work and I could not think of a more fitting fixture to hold a collection at than Leicester. I am sure our supporters will respond with the kindness and generosity we have come to know and respect for one of the most praiseworthy charities in any sport."
KSM has already raised more than £200 for the Matt Hampson Trust from some fund-raising at an evening at Kingsholm organised for touring All Black supporters last Autumn. An anonymous gift from a Gloucester supporter of a framed signed programme from Jason Leonard's 100th International match will also be auctioned later this year to raise funds for the trust.
With such a short turnaround between the two games, and Gloucester looking to reintegrate several players into the line-up after the Autumn international series, Tom Savage told GRTV that the Cherry and Whites will keep changes to a minimum for the European Rugby Challenge Cup game in Zebre on Saturday.
Gloucester travel to Italy this weekend to take on Zebre in Round Four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. The Cherry and Whites defeated the Italian side 35-10 last Sunday, but Director of Rugby David Humphreys is looking for an improved performance in the return fixture.
Skipper Billy Twelvetrees, speaking to GRTV after the 35-10 over Zebre, was happy with the bonus point win over the Italian side but admitted Gloucester will need to tighten up for the return fixture in Parma.
Gloucester Rugby welcome Sione Kalamafoni, Greig Laidlaw and Tom Palmer back to the starting line up and feature David Halaifonua in a matchday squad for the first time, as they resume Aviva Premiership action against Bath Rugby at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm).