Gloucester Rugby webchat: lock Elliott Stooke backed for big season by boss Nigel Davies
POWERFUL young lock Elliott Stooke can be a hidden gem in Gloucester’s season, believes boss Nigel Davies.
The 20-year-old second-row will make his Premiership debut against Northampton Saints at Kingsholm tomorrow (kick-off 3.15pm).
But what do you think about Gloucester's chances against the Saints?
Let Citizen rugby writer Nick Purewal know your predictions here, in a live preview webchat (12.15pm).
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Gloucester rugby director Davies believes Stooke can impose himself on the Cherry and Whites’ season in a big way.
And Davies has backed him to make an immediate impression against the Saints this weekend.
Lineout guru James Hudson’s pectoral injury has sidelined the former Newcastle Falcon for the third week running.
But Davies has given Stooke the nod over Lua Lokotui and Will James.
The Gloucester chief explained: “In James Hudson’s absence we’ve had Elliott come in and do really well.
“He’s going to be a huge bonus for this squad moving forward, that guy’s got a really bright future.
“The fact he’s had opportunities early in his young career is good for him.
“From our academy we are always looking for at least one to three players to come through every year.
“Those are the gems really that people don’t account for when they look at signings who have come into the squad.
“Coaches have to be aware of when the right time will be for those guys to come through though, and we always felt that it would be Stookey’s opportunity this year.
“And he’s had plenty of opportunity in the first month or so, and he has shown up really well.”
GLOUCESTER: R Cook, C Sharples, H Trinder, B Twelvetrees, J Simpson-Daniel, F Burns, J Cowan, D Murphy, D Dawidiuk, R Harden, T Savage (capt), E Stooke, M Kvesic, A Qera, S Kalamafoni. Replacements: K Britton, Y Thomas, S Knight, W James, B Morgan, D Robson, M Tindall, J May.
NORTHAMPTON: B Foden, J Elliott, J Wilson, L Burrell, G North, S Myler,K Fotuali’i, A Waller, D Hartley (capt), T Mercey, S Manoa, C Day, T Wood, C Clark, S Dickinson. Replacements: M Haywood, E Waller, G Denman, C Lawes, P Dowson, L Dickson, G Pisi, K Pisi.