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.
As Gloucester prepare for their 39th game of the season, against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday, David Humphreys told the local media that this week has been all about getting the players mentally and physically ready after a tough game against Connacht last Sunday.
Speaking to GRTV after the 40-32 victory over Connacht on Sunday, skipper Billy Twelvetrees explained that Gloucester had had to learn to be patient and cut out the errors to earn the win and progress to next weekend's final play-off against Bordeaux-Begles.
Jonny May's superb late score capped a thrilling 40-32 European play-off win over Connacht on Sunday. The winger spoke afterwards of his team's character and spirit as he looked ahead to one more week of rugby.
Speaking to GRTV this afternoon, Director of Rugby David Humphreys hailed the 'never say die' attitude of the team, after despite not being at their best, fighting back to take a 40-32 win after extra time over Connacht.
Jonny May continues on the wing on Sunday as Connacht come to town, and the England wing explains to the local media this week that he is delighted with his form and is looking forward to taking on Pat Lam's men.
Speaking to the local media this week, front rower John Afoa is familiar with the challenge of Connacht from his time in Belfast, and the World Cup winner is fully aware of the challenge they pose ahead of Sunday's meeting in the Champions Cup play off
Speaking ahead of Gloucester's European Rugby Champions play-off against Connacht on Sunday (Kingsholm, 3:30pm), Director of Rugby David Humphreys admitted that he's glad to have more players available than in recent weeks ahead of a tough fixture.
Nick Wood captained the Cherry and Whites on Saturday afternoon, and the experienced front rower expressed his pride in the young squad in defeat to Bath on the final day of the Aviva Premiership season.
Lewis Ludlow scored Gloucester's opening try in the 30-50 defeat at Bath on Saturday, part of an impressive performance by the young back row forward. Speaking after the game, he paid tribute to the young Gloucester side who went toe to toe with the Aviva Premiership semi-finalists.
Tongan international forward Sione Kalamafoni returns after injury to take up his usual place in the back row as Gloucester look to finish their season on a high against Bordeaux-Begles at Sixways on Sunday.
Gloucester Rugby is delighted to confirm that 18 year old Mat Protheroe, a product of Hartpury College and one of the brightest young talents in the English game, has signed a senior contract at Kingsholm.