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.
Gloucester take on La Rochelle in the European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final in France on Saturday evening, with the Top 14 side the favourites in the eyes of the bookmakers. However, David Humphreys is looking for his side to rise to the occasion against a familiar opponent.
Speaking to GRTV after Saturday's 39-30 Aviva Premiership win over Sale, Mark Atkinson admitted that the performance wasn't perfect but that the team's character shone through in a game that could easily have slipped away.
Monday evening saw Freddie Clarke in A League action against Exeter, Saturday saw him make his Aviva Premiership debut. And both games resulted in wins! Freddie spoke to GRTV after the 39-30 win over Sale.
Speaking to the local media this week, back row Ross Moriarty spoke of the squad's determination to cut out mistakes, and get a composed performance in as they host Sale Sharks at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell is expecting a tough test this weekend against a Sale Sharks side who have been playing some good rugby in recent weeks, but told the local media this week that the whole squad are determined to finish the season as positively as possible.
Billy Burns will get the headlines for his 16 point haul, but it was a team of heroes who went to La Rochelle and fought like demons to secure a magnificent 16-14 European Rugby Challenge Cup win on Saturday evening.
Gloucester Rugby welcome back scrum-halves Willi Heinz and Greig Laidlaw to the matchday squad as they make five changes to their starting line-up for Saturday evening's European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final against Stade Rochelais.
Charlie Beckett and Tom Hudson have been regulars in the Gloucester United side that's competed in the Aviva Premiership A League this season and are hoping to be involved in the semi-final against Wasps on Monday evening at Kingsholm, kick off 7:30pm.