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Gloucester Rugby make four changes for Heineken Champions Cup opener against Toulouse

Gloucester Rugby make four changes for Heineken Champions Cup opener against Toulouse
Gloucester Rugby have the honour of staging the opening match in the 25th season of the Heineken Champions Cup when they welcome Toulouse to Kingsholm on Friday evening. The Cherry and Whites make four changes to their starting line-up.

After four tough weeks of Gallagher Premiership action, the Heineken Champions Cup takes centre stage for two weekends and it all kicks off at Kingsholm on Friday evening (kick-off 7:45pm).

The Cherry and Whites keep faith with the majority of the side that started against Saracens last weekend, but make four changes.

In the front row, the props are rotated with Val Rapava Ruskin and Jamal Ford-Robinson coming in for Josh Hohneck and Fraser Balmain respectively. In the back row, Ruan Ackermann takes over from Jaco Kriel on the blindside.

The one change in the back line sees Joe Simpson return at scrum-half in place of Callum Braley.

Toulouse have an enviable European pedigree, having lifted the trophy on four occasions. Their form on the road in the Top 14 hasn’t been the best, but Gloucester Rugby Head Coach Johan Ackermann isn’t paying any attention to that.

“You have to respect what they achieved last season and how their coaching staff have turned things around. They have obviously given their World Cup players a bit of a break and started to filter them back in last week and you saw what they did to Clermont.

“When we were at the tournament launch last week, I got the impression that they’re going to put an emphasis on the Heineken Cup this season.

“So, I think they will come with their strongest side and really want to kickstart their campaign with a win. So, I don’t think there will be a lack of motivation on their side so we must make sure we play our best game against a good opponent.”

Gloucester Rugby:

  1. Jason Woodward; 14. Tom Marshall, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Joe Simpson; 1. Val Rapava Ruskin, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Jamal Ford-Robinson; 4. Freddie Clarke, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ben Morgan (capt)


Replacements:

  1. Corné Fourie, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Fraser Balmain, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Jake Polledri, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Matt Banahan


Unavailable for selection:

Ruan Dreyer, James Hanson, Willi Heinz, Ciaran Knight, Franco Mostert, Ed Slater, Henry Trinder, Owen Williams
Next Home Match
Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Sat 28 Nov
KO 15:00
Wasps
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