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Gloucester Rugby make five changes for visit of Newcastle Falcons on Saturday

Gloucester Rugby make five changes for visit of Newcastle Falcons on Saturday
Gloucester Rugby will sign off at Kingsholm on Saturday when they take on Newcastle Falcons in the Gallagher Premiership (kick off 3pm). Needing a point to clinch third place in the table, the Cherry and Whites make five changes to their starting line-up.

The point gained at Sixways last Sunday saw the Cherry and Whites secure a top four finish for the first time in eight years, and one more point from the remaining two games will guarantee a third place finish regardless of what happens elsewhere.

There are five changes to the starting line-up from the side that took on Worcester last Sunday, the tweaks to the back line seeing Jason Woodward come in at full-back having made his comeback from injury as a replacement at Sixways. Matt Banahan reverts to the wing. And skipper Willi Heinz is ruled out, Callum Braley starting at scrum-half with Ben Morgan captaining the side.

Up front, there is rotation in the front row as Fraser Balmain and Josh Hohneck return for Gareth Denman and Val Rapava Ruskin respectively. And, in the back row, Jaco Kriel replaces Jake Polledri at openside flanker.

The Falcons come to Kingsholm hanging on to Premiership survival by a thread. Nine points adrift of Leicester Tigers at the foot of the table, Dean Richards’ side require a minimum of a pair of bonus point wins from the last two rounds of regular season action.

Gloucester Rugby’s Head Coach Johan Ackermann knows that Newcastle will be a tough proposition.

“We know that Newcastle are coming down with the attitude that they have to get five points, they will be driven by the need to give themselves a chance. It’s tough for them because, if Leicester win on Friday night, then it’s all done, they can’t do any more.

“But we owe it to ourselves to play the rugby that we’ve played for the majority of the season and especially the fact that we’re at home in front of our own supporters.

“We’ve still got two games left to play and, regardless of who is on the pitch, we have an organisation to represent. My expectation is that the players and the team will play to their utmost best because it’s our last home game.”

Gloucester Rugby:

  1. Jason Woodward; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Matt Banahan; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8. Ben Morgan (capt)


Replacements:

  1. Mike Sherry, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ruan Dreyer, 19. Lewis Ludlow, 20. Jake Polledri, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Lloyd Evans, 23. Henry Purdy


Unavailable for selection:

Freddie Clarke, James Hanson, Willi Heinz, Tom Hudson, Ciaran Knight, Tom Marshall, Tom Savage, Tom Seabrook, Ollie Thorley, Henry Trinder, Owen Williams
Next Home Match
Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Sat 28 Nov
KO 15:00
Wasps
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