Gloucester Rugby webchat: live Saracens preview with Citizen rugby writer Nick Purewal
Gloucester make the daunting trip to Saracens for their first-ever Premiership clash at Allianz Park on Sunday.
Do you think Nigel Davies' men can hit back from last week's frustrating 22-16 home defeat to Sale Sharks?
Can Gloucester get their season up and running?
And what you change from last weekend, if you were at the Kingsholm helm?
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Let Citizen rugby Nick Purewal know here, at 12.15pm in a live preview webchat:
BRAINS and not just brute force will help Gloucester overcome their scrum troubles, believes Nigel Davies.
The Cherry and Whites boss seriously questions some refereeing interpretations from last weekend’s 22-16 Premiership defeat to Sale Sharks.
The Kingsholm men take on Saracens at Allianz Park on Sunday (kick-off 2pm), desperate to hit back after a sluggish start to the new season.
Rugby director Davies has shifted his back-row around after Sale trumped the Cherry and Whites at the breakdown last weekend.
Fijian Akapusi Qera comes in at openside flanker, with Matt Kvesic moving across to blindside.
Effectively though, that pair will operate as dual sevens – just what Sale had in Dan Braid and David Seymour last weekend.
While Gloucester are intent on solving their breakdown and continuity issues, they must also rise above opening-day set-piece problems.
And Davies has challenged his side to employ strategy just as much as power in adapting to the new scrum engagement calling sequence of ‘crouch, bind, set’.
He explained: “Where do you start on the scrum?
“We have to be adaptable: the new interpretations are having an effect on everyone.
“At a couple of key scrums we question how it was refereed that way, but that’s the way things happen.
“We have to be a lot smarter on how we approach things and how we deal with things.
“We’ve got to work smart enough as much as anything else.
“That’s the game of rugby, it’s not all about brute force, it’s about being smart and clever in certain situations.
“There’s so much in terms of interpretation that can happen, between players, players and coaches, referees, referees and coaches and players, that it’s the smart teams as well as physical teams that win things.
“And on Saturday we were neither of those.
“So we’ll be expecting a lot more from every facet.”
GLOUCESTER: R Cook, C Sharples, H Trinder, B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel, F Burns, T Knoyle, N Wood, D Dawidiuk, R Harden, T Savage (capt), L Lokotui, M Kvesic, A Qera, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: K Britton, D Murphy, Y Thomas, E Stooke, B Morgan, D Robson, M Tindall, M Thomas.