Bossy half-back Jimmy Cowan can keep Gloucester Rugby's pack in order at Newcastle, calls boss Davies
BOSSY Jimmy Cowan can keep whipping Gloucester’s pack into robust shape, believes boss Nigel Davies.
All Black World Cup-winner Cowan keeps the nine shirt for Gloucester’s testing Premiership trip to Newcastle Falcons on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).
The Cherry and Whites will be seeking their first league win in the North East since December 2007.
And rugby director Davies reckons Cowan can bring all his experience to bear at Kingston Park, the same way he did in last weekend’s 26-24 victory over Northampton Saints at Kingsholm.
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Davies wants Cowan and fly-half Freddie Burns to control Sunday’s league clash – whatever the Tyneside weather.
Davies explained: “Your nines and 10s are going to be at the core of things making decisions, making sure we play in the right areas and take pressure off ourselves.
“We’ve got to play with composure, and Jimmy will be very important to that.
“It’s extremely hot competition at scrum-half: we could play any of them and they would do a job, and that’s the level of competition we’re looking to generate throughout the squad.
“And we’re getting there in other positions, there’s no doubt about that.
“What Jimmy did well against Northampton, as well as put in a strong performance, was to manage the pack of forwards.
“He bossed them around the park and that’s a big strength of his.
“We just need to adapt and deal with the conditions on the day.
“If you look at the weather forecast it’s not too bad, but you just never know what it’s going to be like when you get up there.”
James Simpson-Daniel has beaten his heavily-bruised back to continue after last week’s try-making turn against Saints.
Fit-again Jonny May starts on the other flank, with Davies rotating his riches on the wing, deploying Charlie Sharples from the bench.
Up front Will James trades places with Elliott Stooke to make his first start of the season at lock, with England Under-20s graduate Stooke among the replacements.
Shaun Knight starts his first match of the season at tighthead after knee trouble, with Rupert Harden backing up from the substitutes’ bench.
NEWCASTLE FALCONS: A Tait, N Cato, A Powell, J Fitzpatrick, T Catterick, R Clegg, M Blair, F Montanella, M Thompson, O Tomaszczyk, C del Fava, D Barrow, M Wilson, W Welch (capt), A Hogg. Replacements: G McGuigan, R Vickers, S Wilson, S MacLeod, C York, W Fury, P Godman, A Crockett.
GLOUCESTER: R Cook, J May, H Trinder, B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel, F Burns, J Cowan, D Murphy, D Dawidiuk, S Knight, T Savage (capt), W James, S Kalamafoni, M Kvesic, B Morgan. Replacements: K Britton, Y Thomas, R Harden, E Stooke, G Evans, D Robson, M Tindall, C Sharples.