Preview: Gloucester v Wasps

Date published: December 23 2011

Gloucester have made several changes to their side for the Aviva Premiership Boxing Day clash with London Wasps at Kingsholm.

Gloucester have made several changes to their side for the Aviva Premiership Boxing Day clash with London Wasps at Kingsholm.

Rory Lawson and Freddie Burns resume their regular half back partnership with Henry Trinder and Jonny May also added to the three quarter line.

Prop Nick Wood returns to take up his usual loose head berth while Alasdair Strokosch and Akapusi Qera take up the openside and blindside flankers roles respectively.

Talking to the media ahead of the game, Gloucester Head Coach Bryan Redpath admitted that the past few weeks have seen Gloucester a bit below par.

“We've been playing a little bit nervous and, when games get a little tight, we get a little bit anxious,” said Redpath.

“So, this week's been about getting back to what we are and trying to get confidence back. We've been playing well and just not winning.

“It's going to be a real challenge on Boxing Day but one we're really looking forward to. We've won two in a row and, even though they weren't pretty, we'll take some confidence from that.”

And, with the 'sold out' signs on display at Kingsholm for the past few days, a cracking atmosphere awaits.

Meanwhile, Wasps fly-half Nick Robinson says he is looking forward to facing his old side.

Robinson will start for Wasps in the number 10 shirt in a side which sees three changes from the starting team who beat Bayonne in Europe last time out.

The changes see Joe Burton replace the injured John Hart at number eight while Matt Everard and Ben Broster have recovered from minor knocks to start at flanker and prop respectively.

Marco Wentzel, man of the match in the last game, will captain the side from the second row.

“I know that it is a great place to play and even more so in a Boxing Day game in front of a sell-out crowd,” said Robinson.

“Those big occasions are what you play for. The supporters at Kingsholm are very passionate and they are very vocal. They have got used to, and expect to see good rugby. We will need a big performance to get a result, as Gloucester are always a formidable side at home. For us to go down there and get a win we are going to have to be on top of all aspects of our game.”

Form: Gloucester have won their last two games – against Connacht in the Heineken Cup – but in Aviva Premiership Rugby have been victorious in just one of their last five encounters: 24-19 at Exeter on 5 November. Gloucester have lost their last two Premiership matches at Kingsholm, but have not lost three in a row at the venue since 2005. London Wasps ended a three game losing run with their 25-11 home win over Bayonne on Thursday. Wasps have not won away from home in the Premiership since they visited Worcester on 28 October. Gloucester did the double over Wasps last season for the first time since 2007/08. Wasps only victory at Kingsholm since 2006 was 35-6 on 24 October 2009.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 Jonny May, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway (capt) 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Alasdair Strokosch, 5 Jim Hamilton, 4 Peter Buxton, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Brett Deacon, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Charlie Sharples

London Wasps: 15 Hugo Southwell, 14 Richard Haughton, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Riki Flutey, 11 Christian Wade, 10 Nick Robinson, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Joe Burton, 7 Matt Everard, 6 Richard Birkett, 5 Marco Wentzel (c ), 4 Ed O'Donoghue, 3 Ben Broster, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.
Replacements: 16 Tom Lindsay, 17 Bob Baker, 18 Jeremy Castex, 19 Sam Jones, 20 James Harris, 21 Nic Berry, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Tom Varndell.

Date: Monday, December 26
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Greg Garner