Davies shuffles pack for 'very French' test
NIGEL Davies will give a chance to players starved of game time for the Amlin Cup trip to Mont de Marsan tomorrow.
The Gloucester boss has shuffled his deck again but still sends out an experienced side laced with a number of promising youngsters plus personnel desperate for minutes.
Mont de Marsan sit at the foot of the French Top 14 table, but Gloucester's experience in Agen two years ago means that nothing is being taken for granted and Davies confirmed that they've fully analysed the French side.
England wing Charlie Sharples comes back into the side for the first time since week two of the new campaign while Mike Tindall will skipper the team.
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Stalwarts Pete Buxton, Will James and Andy Hazell make the journey to south west France to start their 2012-13 European campaign with a young front row packing down.
Yann Thomas, Koree Britton and Shaun Knight lead second rows Buxton and James while Hazell takes the flank along with Matt Cox and number eight Sione Kalamafoni.
Sharples takes the wing opposite to the electric Ian Clark who is making his first European start, as is Britton, with Tindall and Tim Molenaar solidifying the midfield.
Dave Lewis and Tim Taylor form the halfbacks with Martyn Thomas taking the 15 shirt with Davies keen to extend their unbeaten run despite making several changes to the Bath conquering side.
"Momentum is very important, to continue winning and developing and building our game is really important," said Davies.
"We've rotated the squad in the Premiership fixtures already but it's important that we give an opportunity to some others.
"But, we're expecting no less from these guys. They have to step up to the plate and they've to take our game forward. We have to push on and get better and stronger.
"They're very French – very big, very unpredictable but very capable. If you go out and play French teams and you're accurate and precise then you have every chance.
"If you don't, and it becomes loose and dominated by errors, then they tend to win those games. It's a big challenge for us, a different type of challenge but an interesting one."
Gloucester Rugby: Martyn Thomas; Charlie Sharples, Tim Molenaar, Mike Tindall (capt), Ian Clark; Tim Taylor, Dave Lewis; Yann Thomas, Koree Britton, Shaun Knight; Peter Buxton, Will James; Matt Cox, Andy Hazell, Sione Kalamafoni. Replacements: Tommaso d'Apice, Nick Wood, Dario Chistolini, Elliott Stooke, Gareth Evans, Jimmy Cowan, Henry Trinder, Billy Twelvetrees.