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Preview: Gloucester v Sale Sharks

06th September 2013 10:21

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Debut: Matt Kvesic

England international Matt Kvesic will make his full debut for Gloucester as they kick off at home to Sale Sharks at Kingsholm.

Kvesic will feature in a back row alongside England team-mate Ben Morgan and Tongan international Sione Kalamafoni in a side captained by Tom Savage.

The rest of the starting line up has a familiar look to it, with Gloucester again fielding an all-English qualified back line.

Tighthead prop Rupert Harden returns after missing the end of last season through injury, as does winger James Simpson-Daniel.

Amongst the replacements, summer signings Dan George and Tavis Knoyle could both feature for Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership for the first time, while England U20 international Elliott Stooke provides the second row cover.

Director of Rugby Nigel Davies admitted this week that he's glad to get the season underway and that he's expecting a tough encounter against Sale.

"The preparations have been good and we've built our intensity throughout our preseason campaign and in our training," said Davies.

"The boys will be expecting a really tough battle on Saturday, Sale won't want a repeat of last season and they'll be doing their upmost to get off to a good start.

"We'll have to be on our game to get a result. It's about winning and developing that mentality.

"People expect you to win when you play at home. We're looking at the processes of winning and, if we get those right, then we'll do well. Right now, it's about getting started and I can't wait."

Meanwhile, Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond has named his side for Aviva Premiership opener at Gloucester.

Diamond gives five of his close season signings debuts in the starting line up, with two of the other new signings, Kirill Kulemin and Joe Ford on the bench.

Tom Arscott starts at full-back after making the move from London Welsh, as does Johnathan Mills at lock. Andy Forsyth starts at outside centre after joining from Leicester Tigers, with Michael Paterson in the second row.

Former All Blacks flanker Daniel Braid captains the side in a back-row alongside two former Sale captains in David Seymour and James Gaskell.

Form: Gloucester have lost in round one of Aviva Premiership Rugby in the last three seasons, whilst Gloucester's only home defeat in the Premiership since the opening round last season came on 5 January with a 12-18 reversal to London Irish. Sale Sharks have lost their opening Premiership fixture for the past two seasons and have not won away from home since beating London Welsh at Kassam Stadium on 17 February. The last ten clashes between the two sides in all competitions have been split five wins apiece with no side managing to achieve successive wins. The Sharks have won just once at Kingsholm in their last 14 visits since 2000: 24-19 in the Premiership on 21 April 2012.

The teams:

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

Sale Sharks: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil McKenzie, 13 Andy Forsyth, 12 Jonny Leota, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Nick Macleod, 9 Dwayne Peel, 8 James Gaskell, 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid (c), 5 Michael Paterson, 4 Johnathan Mills, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Eifion Lewis Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Vadim Cobilas, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Josh Beaumont, 21 Will Cliff, 22 Joe Ford, 23 Rob Miller.

Date: Saturday, September 7
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15.00 BST (14.00 GMT)
Referee: Andrew Small

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