Preview: Gloucester v Leeds Carnegie

Date published: March 26 2010

Leeds Carnegie coaching duo of Andy Key and Neil Back have named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday's trip to Gloucester.

Leeds Carnegie coaching duo of Andy Key and Neil Back have named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday's trip to Gloucester.

The only change comes on the bench with Richard Welding in for Jonny Hepworth, after he missed the win over Saracens after failing a pre-match fitness test.

Ceiron Thomas, who left the game early against Saracens, has been passed fit to return however Andy Gomarsall will miss the chance to play against his former club.

Likewise Henry Paul, Jon Goodridge and Jon Pendlebury all miss the chance to play against their old club, however, Andy Titterrell will play again at Kingsholm after leaving the Cherry and Whites last summer. Seru Rabeni will get the chance to run out having signed for Gloucester but never played for them at the end of last season.

Meanwhile, Gloucester welcome back internationals Marco Bortolami, Gareth Delve, Scott Lawson and Mike Tindall to their starting XV.

The quartet, in addition to Alasdair Dickinson who is named on the bench, all missed out on the LV= Cup final last weekend against Northampton as they were away on Six Nations duty but are back to boost the Gloucester squad.

Alex Brown and Tim Molenaar are both ruled out with knocks picked up in the game against the Saints so the return of Bortolami and Tindall, in particular, is a timely one.

Those changes, notwithstanding, it's a similar looking line up to the one that lined up at Sixways last weekend with Scott Lawson and Gareth Delve coming in for Olivier Azam and Adam Eustace respectively.

The Leeds game will represent a tough challenge for Gloucester according to Head Coach Bryan Redpath with the Yorkshire team currently in a good run of form.

“In their last seven games, they've won five and lost two. They've been very competitive and one of the form sides in the Premiership. They're very workmanlike with a huge team ethic and they've picked up their points,” he said.

“Credit to Neil Back and Andy Key up there because they've done really well. If you disrespect them at all, they will willingly take you on. It'll be a tough game, of that there's no question.”

The fixture against Leeds is followed by a midweek trip to Newcastle before a return to Kingsholm to take on Saracens next Saturday and Redpath knows he has to marshall his resources carefully.

“We have to be careful not to use people just for the sake of it because we've got three games in eight days. We have to be smart and pick our strongest team for each game, the fittest and best players available for that game.”

“With seven guaranteed games left to play, I won't risk people.”

Form: Gloucester have won their last five matches against Leeds. Gloucester Rugby's last four matches in the Guinness Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day. Gloucester are unbeaten in their last eight games at Kingsholm in all competitions. Leeds Carnegie have won three successive Guinness Premiership encounters, representing their best run in the competition since 2004/05. The Yorkshiremen have won just once in seven previous visits to Kingsholm: 33-15 in the Guinness Premiership on 9 April 2005.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Freddie Burns, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Nicky Robinson, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Gareth Delve (c), 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Peter Buxton, 5 Marco Bortolami, 4 Will James, 3 Pierre Capdevielle, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Olivier Azam, 17 Alasdair Dickinson, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Adam Eustace, 20 Andrew Hazell, 21 Andy Williams, 22 Tom Voyce, 23 Charlie Sharples.

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Leigh Hinton, 14 Henry Fa'afili, 13 Seru Rabeni, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Lee Blackett, 10 Ceiron Thomas, 9 Scott Mathie, 8 Rhys Oakley, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Kearnan Myall, 5 Marco Wentzel (capt), 4 Erik Lund, 3 Juan Gomez, 2 Andy Titterrell, 1 Mike MacDonald.
Replacements: 16 Vili Ma'asi, 17 Gareth Hardy, 18 Phil Swainston, 19 Calum Clark, 20 Alfie To'oala, 21 Joe Bedford, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Richard Welding.

Date: Saturday, March 27
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Kingsholm