Gloucester Rugby: Davies brings back big guns for Leicester
BIG guns Freddie Burns, Nick Wood, Rupert Harden and Tom Savage return to face former Premiership champions Leicester at Kingsholm tomorrow (4.45pm).
Cherry and Whites boss Nigel Davies has a seven-match unbeaten record to protect and makes five changes to the side that beat Bordeaux last week with Rob Cook replacing Martyn Thomas at full-back.
Burns missed both European jaunts in the past fortnight and will be keen to show England’s coaches what they are missing after leaving him out of the EPS squad yesterday.
England’s forgotten man Wood and South Africa summer tourist Harden will also be keen to show their credentials against a side boasting two international front rows in their squad.
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Emerging youngster Savage has been one of Gloucester’s most impressive performers this season and has been talked about by national forwards coach Graham Rowntree with his side suffering just one defeat.
The Tigers are struggling in the back-row with Craig Newby and Ben Woods retiring, plus Tom Croft, Julian Salvi, Richard Thorpe and former Kingsholm favourite Brett Deacon all sidelined with injury.
But Davies says that whatever team takes to the Kingsholm turf to face his in-form charges will provide them with one of their toughest assignments of the season so far.
He said: “Leicester are very good at staying strong until the end of matches and grinding out results.
“I’m sure it’ll be a tight, tough encounter. We’ve also gained a lot of experience in the past five or six matches of getting results towards the end of the game, so it should be an exciting fixture which goes right to the death.
“We’ve had a few of those this season so we’re used to them!
“We respect every team we play. It’s not about looking for weaknesses, it’s about bringing our own game and making sure we’re good at what we do.”
Gloucester Rugby: Rob Cook; Charlie Sharples, Mike Tindall (captain), Billy Twelvetrees, James Simpson-Daniel; Freddie Burns, Jimmy Cowan; Nick Wood, Huia Edmonds, Rupert Harden; Tom Savage, Will James; Sione Kalamafoni, Akapusi Qera, Ben Morgan. Replacements: Koree Britton, Dan Murphy, Shaun Knight, Peter Buxton, Matt Cox, Dan Robson, Martyn Thomas, Shane Monahan.