Match Preview | Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints
31 August 2018
The new Gallagher Premiership is finally here, and Round One has thrown up a mouth-watering opener as the Cherry and Whites meet Northampton Saints at Kingsholm (KO 2:00pm)
Johan Ackermann’s men are heading into the first day of the new season after a pair of positive preseason victories over Ulster and Dragons, and will be keen to repeat their victory on the first day of last season.
But we welcome a Northampton Saints full of confidence of their own after three preseason wins under new Coaching Staff headed up by former-Hurricane boss Chris Boyd, and it’s sure to be a cracker at Kingsholm Stadium!
Here are a number of players to watch this weekend.
A new Kingsholm pitch has been well received by the Cherry and White speedsters, and after an outstanding first season at the club last time out, Woodward will be keen to continue his form that saw him named in the England squad in the summer.
The Gloucester pack will be keen to gain the front foot control this weekend, against an experienced, and powerful Saints’ eight. Slater’s streetwise operation and leadership will be key in setting the platform and allowing Gloucester the chance to get their game into action. Slater captains the side this week.
The Saints’ joint-captain will be looking to lead from the front for the men from Franklin’s Gardens this weekend, and kickstart a season where Rugby World Cup selection will be a hot topic throughout.
The late summer sunshine is set to be in place this weekend, and the Samoan back will be looking to be a key part of the Saints’ attacking game at Kingsholm. An evasive runner, and possessing a dangerous offloading game, Gloucester will be keeping a close eye on the Saints’ backline.
Gloucester Rugby’s only two victories in round 1 since 2009 were at Newcastle in 2015 and at home to then defending champions Exeter twelve months ago. Gloucester concluded their last Premiership Rugby campaign with just one home win in their last four games at Kingsholm.
Northampton Saints have been defeated in round 1 for the past three seasons and finished off 2017/18 with two wins in the last three rounds of Premiership Rugby. The Saints won just twice away from home in the tournament last season, at London Irish in round 4 and at Leicester in round 20.
Northampton’s only defeat in their last eleven clashes with Gloucester in all competitions was 22-29 at Kingsholm in round 6 of Premiership Rugby last season.
15.Jason Woodward, 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Matt Banahan, 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. James Hanson, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater (c), 5. Mariano Galarza, 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ben Morgan
16. Franco Marais, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Ciaran Knight; 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Jake Polledri; 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Tom Hudson, 23. Owen Williams
15. Ahsee Tuala, 14. Nafi Tuitavake, 13. Luther Burrell, 12. Piers Francis, 11. Tom Collins, 10. Dan Bigger, 9. Cobus Reinach; 1. Alex Waller, 2. James Fish, 3. Ben Franks; 4. David Ribbans, 5. Courtney Lawes, 6. James Haskell, 7. Heinrich Brussow, 8. Teimana Harrison
16. Dylan Hartley, 17. Francois van Wyk, 18. Ehren Painter; 19. Api Ratuniyarawa, 20. Lewis Ludlam, 21. Alex Mitchell, 22. James Grayson, 23. Ken Pisi
Gloucester Rugby v Northampton Saints (Kingsholm, 2:00pm) Live on BT Sport
Referee: Matthew Carley (75th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Jack Makepeace & Greg Macdonald. TMO: Trevor Fisher.
Citing Officer: John Byett.
How To Follow
This Saturday’s game is Live on BT Sport from 1:30pm on Saturday afternoon, and there will be live commentary via BBC Radio Gloucestershire who will in place at Kingsholm Stadium.
Follow all of the club channels for live updates on the matchday live blog, Twitter and behind the scenes on Instagram.
Enjoy the game!