Kingsholm will host England A against Ireland A next year
KINGSHOLM has been named as England A's official home for the 2005/6 season.
Gloucester Rugby will host the A team international between England and Ireland on March 17 - St Patrick's Day - and on the same day as the Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival.
The club is fast becoming the second home to England's junior set-up this season after Gloucester successfully held England's Under-19s international against Australia Schools that attracted a crowd of more than 3,000 and attracted a sell-out gate for the Under-21s last year.
Some of the biggest stars in the Guinness Premiership will be on show for what promises to be a huge evening for rugby fans.
"What can I say, it's simply a fantastic honour to host a game of this size," said Gloucester's managing director Ken Nottage. "After a full international, this is the biggest game we could possible host - and it will be in front of the most passionate club followers in the game.
"This promises to be a great night for Gloucester Rugby, our supporters and for international rugby fans. We have close links with the Irish, particularly following our recent matches against Munster in the Heineken Cup, and those games were also great occasions here at Kingsholm.
"This promises to be another and I hope that it is supported as such."
England A and National Academy coach John Wells told www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk "Gloucester will be an idea venue for this England A versus Ireland A game, with their enthusiastic rugby fans I expect some vocal support on the night.
"Having hosted England Under-21s so well in the past, I am sure the club will do us proud."
Chris Spice, Rugby Football Union performance director, added: "England representative matches have been incredibly successful at Kingsholm in the past and the crowd always provides a great welcome. We will be looking forward to the same on St Patrick's Day."
It will be a marvellous week of sporting action for the people of Gloucestershire as the game coincides with the end of the Cheltenham Festival on Gold Cup day.
Tens of thousands of Irish fans will already be in the county and can conclude a sport-frenzied action with the A international at Kingsholm.
Gloucester Rugby are reserving a ticket for all of their season ticket holders until 3.30pm on Friday, December 30. 5,000 tickets will be put immediately on general sale with the quickest access to them online through www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk
From 1st January, 2006, all remaining unsold tickets will be released on general sale.
The tickets have again been priced competitively in the hope of attracting a sell-out crowd. Priced below the usual prices for a Guinness Premiership match, the tickets offer great value for money. The prices, with an early booking discount included, are:
Gold Seats - on the half way line - £30
Silver Seats - in the main grandstand - £25
Buildbase Stand - Adult £20, Concession £16, Junior £10
Terracing (inc SHED) - Adult £15, Concession £10, Junior £6.
All Season Ticket Holders will receive a further £2* discount on the listed prices during the reservation period. *please note that a junior terracing ticket will be £5 for season ticket holders.
The early booking scheme runs out on Thursday 16 March at 17:00. After this date, all tickets will increase a further £2.
Tickets are available from www.gloucesterrugby.co.uk, the ticket hotline on 0871 871 8781 or from the ticket office at Kingsholm for the game that kicks-off at 7.45pm and is live on Sky TV.
The opening hours are as follows. From 9am until 5pm Monday to Wednesday, from 9am until 6.30pm on Thursday and until 3.30pm on a Friday.
Speaking to the local media this week, Richard Hibbard expressed his excitement ahead of the West Country derby and that there is an extra spring in the step of the Cherry and Whites ahead of the tough challenge.
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.
On a tough evening at Kingsholm, Gloucester could escape neither a suffocating Bath defence, nor the whistle of referee Greg Garner as six penalties and a penalty try paved the way to a 39-16 win for the visitors.
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).