Planet Rugby



Preview: Saracens v Gloucester

13th September 2013 10:57


Saracens celeb 2013

Five last week: Saracens

Saracens will return to Allianz Park on Sunday when Gloucester are the visitors in the final fixture of the second round of the Premiership.

The will do it without England centre Brad Barritt however, with Duncan Taylor starting at inside centre in the only change to their starting XV.

And fresh from the opening round bonus-point victory against London Irish last weekend, boss Mark McCall explained the players are looking forward to running out at Allianz Park again.

"The players love running out to a packed stadium at Allianz Park. It's a fantastic venue and we can't wait for Sunday's game. We got off to a winning start against London Irish last weekend and we were pleased with the result, but we know that we can improve on our performance and that is our challenge against a very talented Gloucester squad," he said.

Meanwhile, Welsh international scrum half Tavis Knoyle will make his first Aviva Premiership start for Gloucester in Sunday's mouth-watering fixture at Allianz Park.

Knoyle, who joined Gloucester in the off-season from the Scarlets, was a second half replacement against Sale Sharks last weekend and is now set for his first start, partnering Freddie Burns at half-back. Burns will make his 100th competitive appearance for the club.

Also coming into the starting line-up is Fijian international flanker Akapusi Qera, as Director of Rugby Nigel Davies shuffles his back-row.

Matt Kvesic moves from openside to blindside to accommodate Qera, while Sione Kalamafoni takes over from Ben Morgan at eight, with Morgan named on the bench.

With those exceptions, it's the same starting line up that took the field against Sale Sharks last weekend and, previewing the game with the media this week, Nigel Davies stressed that he's looking for a reaction at Allianz Park.

"We've made one or two changes but, in the main, it's up to the guys to redeem themselves really," he said.

"There's some technical stuff that we have to get right in terms of the set piece. And, when we get more ball, we can actually dictate for longer periods of the game.

"It may not be a huge tactical game. It may well come down to whoever wants it the most. It's the sort of thing that Saracens pride themselves on, in terms of dominating the opposition and being more physical.

"It's a great challenge, it's exactly what we want. Probably the best fixture we could have had."

Form: Saracens were victorious 42-20 over London Irish at Twickenham on Saturday and have lost just one of their last nine regular season games in Aviva Premiership Rugby: 23-28 at Gloucester in April. Saracens only defeat so far at Allianz Park came in last season's semi-final to Northampton. Gloucester Rugby faltered in losing 16-22 to Sale at Kingsholm in round 1 but have not begun a Premiership campaign with two losses since season 2000/2001. Gloucester have lost their last four away games since beating Northampton 27-11 at Franklin's Gardens on 9th February. This is Gloucester's first visit to Allianz Park, whilst they have not won on Saracens' soil since a trip to Vicarage Road in November 2008.

The teams:

Saracens: 15 Chris Wyles, 14 Chris Ashton, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Duncan Taylor, 11 David Strettle; 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Jacques Burger, 6 Billy Vunipola, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (c), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 Jamie George, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements: 16 Schalk Brits, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 James Johnston, 19 Mouritz Botha, 20 Jackson Wray, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Nils Mordt, 23 Ben Ransom.

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Tavis Knoyle, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Matt Kvesic, 5 Lua Lokotui, 4 Tom Savage (capt), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Ben Morgan, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Date: Sunday, September 15
Kick-off: 14:00 BST
Venue: Allianz Park
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Paul Dix, Robin Goodliffe
Timekeeper: John Burtenshaw
Television match official: Trevor Fisher
Assessor: Paul Bridgman

  • Gloucester Fixtures
Forthcoming Fixtures
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , November 30
London Irish vs Gloucester13:00
Saturday , December 20
Gloucester vs Bath15:00
Saturday , December 27
Gloucester vs Wasps15:00
Saturday , January 3
Exeter vs Gloucester15:00
Saturday , January 10
Gloucester vs Saracens15:00
Saturday , February 14
Leicester vs Gloucester15:00
Saturday , February 21
Gloucester vs London Welsh15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
LV= Cup
Saturday , January 31
Gloucester vs Ospreys15:00
Saturday , February 7
Gloucester vs Harlequins15:00
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European Rugby Challenge Cup
Sunday , December 7
Gloucester vs Zebre15:15
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  • Gloucester Results
Recent Results
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Aviva Premiership
Friday , November 21
Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 GloucesterNewcastle Falcons vs Gloucester Report
Friday , November 14
Gloucester 15 - 22 HarlequinsGloucester vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
LV= Cup
Sunday , November 9
London Welsh 9 - 18 Gloucester
Saturday , November 1
Exeter 28 - 27 Gloucester
More LV= Cup results
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Saturday , October 25
Oyonnax 15 - 25 Gloucester
Thursday , October 16
Gloucester 55 - 0 Brive
More European Rugby Challenge Cup results
Aviva Premiership
Saturday , October 11
Saracens 28 - 21 Gloucester
More Aviva Premiership results
  • Table
Aviva Premiership Table
7Sale Sharks820
10Newcastle Falcons813
11London Irish812