Preview: Leeds Carnegie v Gloucester

Date published: December 31 2010

Basement club Leeds Carnegie have named their team for their clash against Gloucester at Headingley Carnegie on Saturday.

Basement club Leeds Carnegie have named their team for their vital fixture against Gloucester at Headingley Carnegie on Saturday.

The starting line-up remains unchanged to the one that was set to play Newcastle in the postponed fixture earlier this week.

The game will be Leeds Carnegie's first Aviva Premiership fixture since they took on Harlequins at the end of October and it will see the return for England internationals Steve Thompson and Hendre Fourie, who have not played for Leeds in the league since 22nd October. Warren Fury has also been given the nod to make his first Premiership start since joining in the summer.

Gareth Hardy and Phil Swainston start in the front-row alongside Thompson whilst Lachlan MacKay starts at fly half and Ceiron Thomas reverts to full back. Otherwise the backline is unchanged from the team's last fixture away against Crociati Rugby.

Meanwhile, England U20 fly-half Freddie Burns will start in the number ten shirt as Gloucester travel north to get their 2011 campaign off and running.

Burns will be partnered at half back by Rory Lawson while Olly Morgan and James Simpson-Daniel also return having sat out the team's last fixture at home to La Rochelle. In the pack, Pierre Capdevielle starts in place of Paul Doran-Jones who is absent for family reasons.

Meanwhile, second row Dave Attwood is unavailable for selection this weekend having been suspended for two weeks following an internal club disciplinary meeting after the La Rochelle game.

Brett Deacon is sidelined with an ankle injury so Peter Buxton starts on the blindside but there is a welcome return amongst the replacements for Alasdair Strokosch who has been ruled out since the win over Harlequins on October 23.

Leeds are winless in the Aviva Premiership so far this season and have lost their last seven encounters with Gloucester.

However, Gloucester will be more than aware that they just edged out Leeds 22-21 at Kingsholm in the first encounter this season and Head Coach Bryan Redpath insists that there is no complacency in the squad.

“This is an absolute monster of a game for us. Leeds are fighting for their livelihoods, for jobs and for contracts. They'll be well up for it at the weekend,” he said.

“We know what's at stake and we must do the fundamental parts of the game better than the last time we played.

“It's going to be a tight game, it's a small pitch and they'll be looking to start their New Year with a win. You can never underestimate them there. We just beat them at Kingsholm and it'll be tough again.”

Form: Gloucester have won their last seven encounters with Leeds since the Yorkshiremen gained a 33-15 victory at Kingsholm on 9 April 2005. Leeds Carnegie, whose fixture at Newcastle over Christmas was postponed, have won just three matches this season – all in the European Challenge Cup. Leeds are winless in the Premiership since 25 April when they beat Worcester 12-10 at Headingley Carnegie. Gloucester Rugby are the second best team in Aviva Premiership Rugby on current form, having gained 21 league points from their last six matches, although their home game with table topping Northampton on Boxing Day succumbed to the weather. Gloucester's only away victory in the Premiership this season was at Bath on 1 October.

The teams:

Leeds Carnegie: 15 Ceiron Thomas, 14 Lee Blackett, 13 Henry Fa'afili, 12 Scott Barrow, 11 Mike Stephenson, 10 Lachlan MacKay, 9 Warren Fury, 8 Daniel Browne, 7 Hendre Fourie, 6 Rhys Oakley, 5 Marco Wentzel (capt), 4 Tom Denton, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Steve Thompson, 1 Gareth Hardy.
Replacements: 16 Phil Nilsen, 17 Mike MacDonald, 18 Gareth Denman, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Danny Paul, 21 Scott Mathie, 22 Luther Burrell, 23 Leigh Hinton.

Gloucester: 15 Olly Morgan, 14 James Simpson-Daniel, 13 Mike Tindall (capt), 12 Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu, 11 Lesley Vainikolo, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Rory Lawson, 8 Luke Narraway, 7 Andrew Hazell, 6 Peter Buxton, 5 Alex Brown, 4 Will James, 3 Pierre Capdevielle, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Olivier Azam, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Alasdair Strokosch, 20 Akapusi Qera, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Nicky Robinson, 23 Charlie Sharples.

Date: Saturday, January 1
Kick-off: 13:00
Venue: Headingley Carnegie
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth