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Morgan named captain as Marshall and Savage return for Sunday’s visit of Castres Olympique

Morgan named captain as Marshall and Savage return for Sunday’s visit of Castres Olympique
Ben Morgan will skipper the side while Tom Savage and Tom Marshall will make their first competitive appearances of the season as Gloucester Rugby kick off their Heineken Champions Cup campaign at home to Castres Olympique on Sunday (kick off 1pm).

Both players have been sidelined with injury so far this season, and make a timely return with a number of their team mates unavailable for Sunday’s game.

Also returning to the starting line-up are full-back Jason Woodward and scrum-half Callum Braley who were replacements against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena last weekend.

In the pack, Savage starts in the second row in place of Ed Slater, while Freddie Clarke comes into the back row in place of the suspended Lewis Ludlow.

Previewing the fixture at the club’s midweek media session, Head Coach Johan Ackermann spoke of the excitement at the club as the Cherry and Whites return to the top table of European club rugby.

“There’s a lot of excitement in the group, including myself who is going to be involved in the competition for the first time. It’s a new challenge against a new opponent in a shorter tournament where there’s not a lot of room for error.

“But it’s great for the club, and for us as a team, to play against these top teams in one of the best competitions in world rugby.

“The reality this week is that we’re up against a top side who aren’t champions of their country for nothing, and they did it the hard way. They’ve also had a great start to this season.

“It’s a step up for us in terms of intensity and quality. They have a great camaraderie in their group and play a bit differently. They’re big and strong but also have guys like Rory Kockott and David Smith who can influence things.”

Gloucester Rugby:

  1. Jason Woodward; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Tom Marshall; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Freddie Clarke, 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Ben Morgan (capt)


  1. Henry Walker, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Todd Gleave, 20. Matt Banahan, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Owen Williams, 23. Tom Hudson

Unavailable for selection:

Ruan Ackermann, Gareth Denman, Ruan Dreyer, Gareth Evans, James Hanson, Willi Heinz, Jaco Kriel, Paddy McAllister, Henry Purdy, Will Safe, Ed Slater, Ollie Thorley, Henry Trinder