Nigel Davies challenges much-changed Gloucester line-up to take a leaf out of Toulon's all-court game in Munster
SUPERSTARS Toulon dazzled Gloucester with their ability to change the pace and position of their attack almost at will two weeks ago.
Tomorrow evening Nigel Davies wants the Cherry and Whites to do exactly the same to Munster.
The Kingsholm men take on the decorated Irish province in their second 15-a-side pre-season contest, at Thomond Park (kick-off 5pm).
Gloucester’s rugby director was left as much in awe of European champions Toulon’s offloading game as his team on Friday, August 9.
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Davies’ side lost out 42-17, with Jonny Wilkinson and Matt Giteau running the show at Stade Mayol.
Former Wales centre Davies is keen for Gloucester to expand their attacking threat in similar fashion to Toulon.
And now he wants his side to keep the ball away from contact too.
Fit-again All Black scrum-half Jimmy Cowan will make his first Gloucester appearance since February out in Limerick, having recovered from knee ligament repair surgery.
James Simpson-Daniel is also back to full fitness after shoulder surgery, while physical playmaking centre Ryan Mills is also involved, after a knee operation of his own last term.
Academy speedster Steph Reynolds starts at full-back, with Johnny Bentley taking the reins at fly-half after his impressive cameo off the bench against Toulon.
Davies was always intent on giving those who did not feature or were replacements in Toulon opportunities to impress elsewhere – and this is their chance.
Calling for a more expansive attacking game, Davies explained: “What we want revolves around game management, how we play in certain areas and look to control the game, but then also how we keep the ball alive and change the point of attack.
“Sometimes you’ve got to be a bit bold, and this is the best time experiment.
“Nothing’s won in pre-season, but certainly we can lay the foundations and so that’s what we’re looking to do.
“I think they’ll be a bit of a mixed bag a bit like us in terms of this match.
“It’s very important coming on the back of all the hard work that’s been done, that we channel that effort in the right direction and make sure we’re there or thereabouts.
“I don’t expect us to be picture-perfect, but I expect to see quite a lot in our game that we can build on and fine-tune over the next couple of weeks really.”
GLOUCESTER: S Reynolds, C Sharples, T Molenaar, R Mills, J Simpson-Daniel, J Bentley, J Cowan, D Murphy, D George, Y Thomas, E Stooke, W James, M Cox, A Hazell (capt), G Evans. Replacements: J Gibbons, K Britton, R Harden, L Lokotui, A Qera, S Kalamafoni, D Robson, B Burns, M Tindall, D Cheshire.