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Preview: Gloucester v Saracens

28th October 2011 11:35

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eliota fuimaono sapolu gloucester v saracens 2011

Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu: Returns to action for Gloucester

Gloucester's Samoan centre Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu returns to action for Saturday's Aviva Premiership clash with Saracens at Kingsholm.

Fuimaono-Sapolu is one of four changes to coach Bryan Redpath's starting XV and will partner Henry Trinder in the Gloucester midfield.

Charlie Sharples returns on the right wing in the only other change in the back-line while in the pack, Nick Wood and Darren Dawidiuk come in for Dan Murphy and Scott Lawson respectively in the front row.

Also named in the matchday squad for the first time this season is Mike Tindall who is named amongst the replacements.

Amongst the rugby media, the fixture has been billed as the team with the best home record against the side with the best away record and Redpath is certainly well aware of the size of the challenge.

"They've got the best lineout, a strong and efficient scrum and (Schalk) Brits is probably the best player in the Premiership," he said.

"They've also got the best away record which we're well aware of so it's a real challenge which we've got to be massively up for."

"It's going to be tough, we'll have to be at our best to get a result, but it's something we should look forward to and not worry about the opposition," added Redpath.

Meanwhile, the likes of Steve Borthwick, Ernst Joubert, Schalk Brits, David Strettle and Brad Barritt return to the starting line-up for Saracens.

In the back row, Jacques Burger will make his first appearance of the season following World Cup duty for Namibia while on the bench, Matt Stevens and Chris Wyles also return after international action in New Zealand.

Injury news sees Richard Wigglesworth ruled out for the season following knee surgery while Jackson Wray, who left the field against Exeter last week, injured his ankle ligaments and is out of action for four to six weeks.

Form: Gloucester's last dozen matches in all competitions have all been won by the home side on the day. Gloucester are unbeaten in their last 22 home Premiership matches at Kingsholm (currently the 4th longest such run in Premiership history). Saracens have lost only one of their last 18 Aviva Premiership matches since early January: 15-20 to Wasps at Twickenham on 3 September. Sarries' most recent away loss in the Premiership came at Gloucester on 27 November 2010. The last seven games between the two clubs in all competitions have been won by the home team on the day. Saracens have won just once at Kingsholm in 23 previous visits in all competitions: 14-13 in the Premiership on 30 April 2005.

The teams:

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

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 David Strettle, 13 Owen Farrell, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 James Short, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Neil de Kock, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Kelly Brown, 5 Mouritz Botha, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Carlos Nieto, 2 Schalk Brits, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Jamie George, 17 Deon Carstens, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Hayden Smith, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Chris Wyles, 23 Joe Maddock.

Date: Saturday, October 29
Kick-off: 17:45
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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