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.
Previewing Friday evening's local derby at Bristol, Interim Head Coach Jonny Bell told the local media that Gloucester's preparations have gone well and that the whole squad is united in trying to finish the season on a high.
Speaking to GRTV this week, Acting Head Coach Jonny Bell spoke of his pleasure in the efforts and intensity in training from the squad after a tricky few weeks. The team were preparing for big games with Bristol and Cardiff in coming weeks.
Willi Heinz was understandably and visibly disappointed when he spoke to GRTV after the 27-30 home defeat to Harlequins, apologising to the home support as the game slipped away after seemingly having the game under control.
Speaking to the local media this week, Scottish centre Matt Scott spoke of the squad's determination to put in a big home performance against Harlequins, with vital points up for grabs in the hunt for a Top Six spot this Saturday (KO 3pm)
Looking ahead to Saturday's Aviva Premiership fixture at home to Harlequins (kick off 3pm), Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media that Gloucester will need to be on top of their game in a match which has big implications in terms of top six ambitions.
A big few days for the Gloucester-Hartpury Women side. First came the news that the team will compete in Women's Super Rugby next season, and on Saturday the team will play Worcester Ladies IIs at Kingsholm. Centre Hannah Jones and wing Michelle Ruddock spoke to GRTV this week to reflect on events.
Speaking to the local media after the 35-22 loss at Wasps, lock Tom Savage spoke of his disappointment at the result, with Gloucester left to rue a number of missed opportunities against a clinical home side.
Missing so many starters, and up against a team fighting for their Premiership existence, Gloucester did what had to be done at Ashton Gate on Friday evening battling their way to a 32-14 Aviva Premiership win over Bristol Rugby.