Preview: Gloucester v Exeter Chiefs

Date published: September 18 2014

Henry Purdy will make his Aviva Premiership debut for Gloucester with Exeter Chiefs the visitors to Kingsholm on Friday.

Henry Purdy will make his Aviva Premiership debut for Gloucester with Exeter Chiefs the visitors to Kingsholm on Friday.

England U20 international Purdy, a Junior World Championship winner, will come in for Henry Trinder at outside centre. Trinder picked up a shoulder injury against Sale last weekend.

Purdy moved to Kingsholm from Leicester Tigers, and starred in the club's Premiership Rugby 7s winning campaign, as well as featuring for the first XV in preseason.

His inclusion is one of three changes to the Gloucester starting line-up. Sila Puafisi starts in place of John Afoa at tighthead prop while Tom Palmer replaces James Hudson in the second row. Hudson has been unwell this week.

Returning to the matchday squad this week amongst the replacements are forward duo Elliott Stooke and Matt Kvesic.

Gloucester will be looking to build upon last Saturday's 34-27 victory over the Sale Sharks against a traditionally tough opponent. Unusually last season, both Premiership meetings last season were won by the away team.

Meanwhile, Rob Baxter has made two changes to his starting line-up with Ben Moon coming in at loosehead for Carl Rimmer, while Damian Welch packs down in the second row in place of Ryan Caldwell.

The other changes in personnel come on the bench where Phil Dollman and Jack Nowell both return for the first time this season, taking over as back options in place of Ceri Sweeney and Jack Arnott

Having both Dollman and Nowell back in the mix, together with a number of others who featured in Monday's A League victory over London Welsh, has given Baxter and his fellow coaches plenty of options going into Friday's tussle and beyond.

“We always knew we would become stronger the more we got into the season,” said Baxter.

Thankfully, we've not picked up any other injuries and all of a sudden we're getting a number of guys back to full fitness. Monday's night game showed a lot of boys returning to fitness, which in turn has created selection issues for us because we've played very well for the last two weeks.

“What it does give us, however, is a number of options and firepower off the bench.

“Over the next weeks, we will have a lot of players chomping at the bit to play some rugby, so that will not only give us quality in training, but also good performances out on the pitch.”
Form: Gloucester last five Aviva Premiership Rugby matches have all been won by the home side on the
day, whilst Gloucester's only defeat at Kingsholm in any tournament since January was 17-18 to Bath in round 19 of the Premiership last season. Conversely, Exeter Chiefs last seven matches have all been won by the away side on the day. The Chiefs have won their last three away games in the tournament but have not won four in a row on the road since the end of the 2011/12 season. Each side was victorious on their opponents turf last season, whilst Exeter have won on two of their last three visits to Kingsholm.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Purdy, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Ross Moriarty, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Tom Palmer, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Dan Murphy
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 John Afoa, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mark Atkinson, 23 Bill Meakes

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Chrysander Botha, 14 Ian Whitten, 13 Henry Slade, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Matt Jess, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Ben White, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Damian Welch, 4 Mitch Lees, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Carl Rimmer, 18 Moray Low, 19 Ryan Caldwell, 20 Kai Horstmann, 21 Will Chudley, 22 Phil Dollman, 23 Jack Nowell

Date: Friday, September 19
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19.45 BST (18.45 GMT)
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Roger Baileff & Andrew Pearce