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Gloucester Rugby name team for key European fixture at home to Montpellier

Gloucester Rugby name team for key European fixture at home to Montpellier
Needing to win to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for the Heineken Champions Cup knockout stages, Gloucester Rugby have named their team to face Montpellier at Kingsholm on Saturday (kick off 5:30pm). Skipper Willi Heinz will make his first European appearance of the season.

It’s round five of the Heineken Champions Cup and the Cherry and Whites find themselves in a fight for one of the three best second placed spots.

Only a victory against Montpellier will carry that fight into next weekend and the away game at Toulouse, and Head Coach Johan Ackermann has fulfilled his pledge to name his strongest available side.

Six of the back line that started against Bath Rugby last weekend are retained, the only change seeing Louis Rees-Zammit, named this week as the Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month for December, replacing Tom Marshall.

However, there are changes in the pack. It’s a new look front row as Val Rapava-Ruskin, Todd Gleave and Ciaran Knight come in for Josh Hohneck, Franco Marais and Ciaran Knight respectively.

In the second row, Gerbrandt Grobler replaces Alex Craig while, in the back row, Lewis Ludlow and Ben Morgan return in place of Jake Polledri and Freddie Clarke.

Head Coach Johan Ackermann admitted this week that a win is the minimum required to keep qualification hopes alive, but that the squad aren’t looking any further ahead than Saturday’s game.

“The reality is that this weekend I think we have to get a bonus point win to give us a realistic chance, and then it’ll be a big ask to go down to Toulouse and get points. But you never know, funny things have happened before.

“But we’re not going to worry about the play-offs and ‘what ifs’. We don’t like to lose at Kingsholm, so we want to be competitive at the weekend and as strong as we can.

“There’s nothing further than Saturday in our thoughts, we’ve enjoyed the Bath win but that’s gone. Saturday is a new challenge, they (Montpellier) bring a different challenge to other teams but we’ll get this one out of the way and then reassess.”

Gloucester Rugby:

  1. Jason Woodward; 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Chris Harris, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Todd Gleave, 3. Ciaran Knight; 4. Gerbrandt Grobler, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ben Morgan


  1. Henry Walker, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Josh Hohneck, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Freddie Clarke, 21. Joe Simpson, 22. Mark Atkinson, 23. Owen Williams

Unavailable for selection:

Fraser Balmain, Ruan Dreyer, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Corné Fourie, James Hanson, Jaco Kriel, Franco Marais, Tom Marshall, Jake Polledri, Charlie Sharples, Ed Slater, Henry Trinder
Next Home Match
Kingsholm Stadium
Gloucester Rugby
Sat 4 Jun
KO 15:00
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