Preview: Gloucester v Worcester

Date published: October 30 2015

1022.6666666666666x767__origin__0x0_Ross_Moriarty_Gloucester_AP_2015

Wales international flanker Ross Moriarty returns at blindside for Gloucester in their only change for Saturday's clash with Worcester at Kingsholm.

The teams are separated by just one point in the table after two rounds of action, both having won one game out of two to date.

Having both lost last weekend, it's important for both sides to get back to winning ways but Gloucester's director of rugby David Humphreys is expecting Worcester to be a tough nut to crack.

"I think Worcester will be another huge challenge for us this weekend. They've come up and made a great start to their campaign with the win against Northampton," he said.

"It gave them the confidence to know that they can compete in this league. Unlike London Welsh the year before, they've more consistency in their squad and haven't had to recruit so much. And they players they have recruited are experienced and have been successful in various leagues in various countries.

"But we know that we will get better and better as we have players coming back from the World Cup and coming back from injury. We're excited about the next few games."

New signing Tevita Cavubati will make his full debut for the Warriors, the Fijian lock will start alongside Donncha O'Callaghan in the second-row.

Internationals Chris Pennell and Cooper Vuna join Tom Biggs once again in the back-three, while Springbok Wynand Olivier partners Ryan Mills in midfield.

Tom Heathcote and Jonny Arr look to cement their half-back partnership to complete a strong Warriors backline.

Captain GJ van Velze lines up alongside the Premiership's top tackler Phil Dowson and Marco Mama in the back row, while Na'ama Leleimalefaga, Niall Annett and Nick Schonert complete the front-row.

Director of rugby Dean Ryan said: "We don't want to make any drastic changes. We want some consistency in selection especially in this first block of four fixtures.

"There's no point jumping around. What we thought was right for Northampton was still right for Sale and so on. That's the way we're going to grow.

"There's a lot more to come from this group. We're pretty buoyant that we can compete and now we have to drive ourselves to get better.

"It's not just about swimming each week and seeing if we can stay above water.

"We want to see if we can really nail down some results and I'm pleased with the response from the squad."

Form: Gloucester's five game unbeaten run at Kingsholm in Aviva Premiership Rugby ended with their 15-17 reversal to Saracens on Friday. Gloucester’s solitary victory in the last three rounds of the tournament was 39-27 at Newcastle in round 1. Worcester Warriors' last five Premiership Rugby encounters have all been won by the home side on the day whilst Warriors have won just once on the road in the tournament in their last 28 away trips since New Year’s Day 2012: 17-12 at Newcastle in March 2014. Each side won its respective home game when the two clubs last met in Premiership Rugby in season 2013/14, whilst Worcester's only previous victory at Kingsholm was 13-6 in Premiership Rugby on 21st April 2009.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Charlie Sharples, 14 David Halaifonua, 13 Billy Twelvetrees (capt), 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Ross Moriarty, 5 Sione Kalamafoni, 4 Tom Savage, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister.
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Henry Purdy.

Worcester: 15 Chris Pennell, 14 Tom Biggs, 13 Wynand Olivier, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Cooper Vuna, 10 Tom Heathcote, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 GJ van Velze (c), 7 Marco Mama, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Tevita Cavubati, 4 Donncha O'Callaghan, 3 Nick Schonert, 2 Niall Annett, 1 Na'ama Leleimalefaga.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Val Rapava Ruskin, 18 Joe Rees, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ryan Lamb, 23 Ben Howard.

Date: Saturday, October 31
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 14:00 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Tom Foley, Jonathan Healy
TMO: Keith Lewis

COMMENTS