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George Skivington names Gloucester Rugby’s side for Champions Cup clash against La Rochelle

George Skivington has named Gloucester Rugby’s team to host La Rochelle at Kingsholm on Friday in the European Champions Cup.

There is just one change in the starting 15 from the side that beat Exeter Chiefs last time out with Chris Harris returning from Six Nations duty to start at outside centre.

Santiago Carreras, Louis Rees-Zammit and Jonny May start in the back three with Mark Atkinson lining up at 12 alongside the returning international. Willi Heinz and George Barton continue their partnership and start at half-back.

The forwards are unchanged with Lewis Ludlow resuming the captaincy at openside alongside Jordy Reid and Ruan Ackermann in the backrow. Ed Slater and Matias Alemanno start at lock with Val Rapava-Ruskin, Henry Walker and Fraser Balmain packing down in the front row.

In a similar fashion to last week, the Cherry and Whites have opted for a 6-2 split on the bench with Santiago Socino, Alex Seville, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Alex Craig, Freddie Clarke and Jack Clement all named as forward replacements. Charlie Chapman and Billy Twelvetrees are the two backs on the bench.

George Skivington is expecting a physical battle up front.

“They’ve got some real strengths and a big pack. They’ve got characters like Will Skelton who’s a seriously big man. We’ve seen when he played for Saracens that he can destroy mauls on his own. They’ve got a very big an efficient pack and an extremely exciting back line. The process that they have, they are very efficient in. There’s a good reason that they are where they are in the French league, second place and they’ve clearly got very good systems and they are effective with it.

“They use their strengths really well is the best way to describe La Rochelle. They worked out who can do what and it’s a pretty star-studded team and I think they’re very well coached from the games that I’ve watched.”

Gloucester Rugby

15. Santiago Carreras

14. Louis Rees-Zammit *

13. Chris Harris

12. Mark Atkinson

11. Jonny May *

10. George Barton *

9. Willi Heinz

 

1. Val Rapava-Ruskin

2. Henry Walker *

3. Fraser Balmain

4. Ed Slater

5. Matias Alemanno

6. Jordy Reid

7. Lewis Ludlow (c) *

8. Ruan Ackermann

 

16. Santiago Socino

17. Alex Seville *

18. Jamal Ford-Robinson

19. Alex Craig *

20. Freddie Clarke *

21. Jack Clement *

22. Charlie Chapman *

23. Billy Twelvetrees

*Denotes Academy player or graduate from the Gloucester Rugby Academy

Click here to see the players who are unavailable for this fixture.

George Skivington looks ahead to La Rochelle