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Jaco Visagie to make full Gloucester Rugby debut at Exeter

Jaco Visagie to make full Gloucester Rugby debut at Exeter
Hooker Jaco Visagie will make his first start for the club as Gloucester Rugby make six changes to their starting line-up for Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup match away at Exeter Chiefs.

It’s the first leg of the traditional European December double-header, and the second time that the Cherry and Whites have played at Sandy Park in a fortnight following the recent Gallagher Premiership fixture.

Visagie has featured off the bench in the last two games, but will make his full debut in one of three changes to the pack. Gerbrandt Grobler returns to the second row to partner Tom Savage and Jake Polledri will start at openside flanker.

In the back line, Matt Banahan, Tom Hudson and Henry Trinder all return to the starting line-up.

Despite the fact that the two teams met two weeks ago, Head Coach Johan Ackermann admitted this week that it’s a completely different proposition this weekend and that Gloucester Rugby will have to be at their best.

“It’s a new challenge and a new competition and will probably be a new team we’re facing as well as they’ll be bringing in players who weren’t available two weeks ago.

“But we’ll be looking first and foremost at ourselves, and looking to execute better than we did on that specific day. We can’t control anything other than our own mindset and way of playing.

“We know that they are a leading side domestically and in Europe. They’re going to test us on all fronts – they’re physical with a good set-piece and test you defensively as they keep the ball for long periods.

“So, we have to be at our best if we are to give ourselves any opportunity.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Hudson; 14. Matt Banahan, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Owen Williams, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Jaco Visagie, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Freddie Clarke, 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Ben Morgan


16. Henry Walker, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Gareth Evans, 21. Callum Braley, 22. Billy Twelvetrees, 23. Jason Woodward

Unavailable for selection:

Ruan Ackermann, Mark Atkinson, Gareth Denman, Ruan Dreyer, Lloyd Evans, Todd Gleave, James Hanson, Jaco Kriel, Lewis Ludlow, Franco Marais, Tom Marshall, Paddy McAllister, Will Safe, Ben Vellacott