Preview: Gloucester v Northampton

Date published: May 6 2016

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Elliott Creed will become the latest Academy graduate to make his debut for Gloucester when he lines up against Northampton on Saturday.

19-year-old Creed has made three appearances as a replacement, including the 12-11 win at Sale last Friday, but will make his first start on the wing against the Saints at Kingsholm on Saturday.

With Ollie Thorley, who lines up on the opposite wing, preparing for his third start in a row, the Academy has seen two players break into the first team in the last few weeks of the season.

Creed's debut is one of three changes to the starting line-up as Tom Marshall returns at full-back having missed out at Sale with tonsillitis, while Ben Morgan comes in for Sione Kalamafoni at number eight.

"There is pressure on Saints. I listened to Jim Mallinder talking about how important Champions Cup qualification is to them. When you look at where they are in the table, with the quality they have in their squad, it shows how competitive this league is," said boss David Humphreys.

"It'll be a big test for us this week, they've a strong team coming down and we'll have to produce an even better performance than we did last weekend to compete.

"We've a couple more injuries from last week's game and we'll be a bit stretched. But you've seen the young players come in and how well they've responded when they've had their opportunity. We look forward to seeing them perform again this weekend.

"We all know how disappointed everyone was after the Dragons game. But it's huge credit to everybody in the way that they've responded – the character, the determination, the hard work that's gone into defeating Exeter and Sale.

"That gives us a strong foundation going into next season. We've talked about finishing the season on a high. This weekend is about producing a performance similar to the one from the past two games and winning the game."

Meanwhile, Northampton Saints have name an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Premiership trip to Kingsholm.

The men in black, green and gold overturned a 14-point half-time deficit to see off Bath last weekend and the same 15 will take to the field for the final round of league action in 2015/16.

Lee Dickson leads the side out having earlier this week stressed the importance of victory to the Saints’ Champions Cup qualification hopes.

The only two changes to the matchday squad come among the replacements, where Dylan Hartley and Sam Olver are included.

Form: Gloucester have won their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby matches, at home to Exeter and away at Sale, but have not won three in succession in the tournament since October 2012. Gloucester’s only defeat in their last five Premiership rugby fixtures at Kingsholm was to Bath in round 18. Northampton Saints require a victory to guarantee Champions Cup rugby next season, less if other results go their way. The Saints ended a three game losing run in all tournaments with their 15-14 win at home to Bath on Saturday. Saints only win away from homes since early February was on a trip to Saracens on 5th March. Northampton are unbeaten in their last four Premiership Rugby fixtures against Gloucester since the Cherry & Whites’ 26-24 win at Kingsholm in September 2013. The Saints have won just once at Gloucester’s citadel since 2009.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Ollie Thorley, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Elliott Creed, 10 Greig Laidlaw (c), 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Gareth Evans, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Jacob Rowan

Northampton: 15 Harry Mallinder, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Luther Burrell, 11 George North, 10 Stephen Myler, 9 Lee Dickson (c), 8 Teimana Harrison, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Courtney Lawes, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Mikey Haywood, 1 Alex Waller
Replacements: 16 Dylan Hartley, 17 Campese Ma’afu, 18 Paul Hill, 19 Victor Matfield, 20 Ben Nutley, 21 Kahn Fotuali’i, 22 Sam Olver, 23 James Wilson

Date: Saturday, May 7
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15:30 BST (14:30 GMT)
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Andrew Small, Andrew Pearce
TMO: Geoffrey Warren

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