Planet Rugby

Preview: Gloucester v London Irish

04th January 2013 11:34

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Ben Morgan London Irish v Gloucester Aviva Premiership 2012

Power: Ben Morgan

Mike Tindall will captain Gloucester as they continue their Aviva Premiership campaign, with London Irish the visitors on Saturday.

Tindall takes over the captaincy from Jim Hamilton, who is sidelined with a finger injury. Tom Savage replaces Hamilton in the second row.

Other changes from the team that started at Leicester Tigers last weekend see Rob Cook return after recovering from a stomach bug, and Dan Murphy come in for Nick Wood at loose head prop.

Saturday's game will be the third time that the two teams have met in five weeks, and the fourth time they've squared off in all competitions so far this season.

Gloucester have won all three meetings to date, but Director of Rugby Nigel Davies insisted this week that there will be absolutely no room for complacency.

"It's a very important game for us, and a very important game for them as well for different reasons," said Davies.

"London Irish can be dangerous, they're very unpredictable and always have that ability to hurt teams. We have to be mindful of that and respect that. If you're loose and give them half chances, then they will take advantage.

Meanwhile, London Irish will be bolstered this weekend by the return of Alex Corbisiero to the starting lineup for the Aviva Premiership match against Gloucester at Kingsholm.

The England International will join Halani Aulika and David Paice in the front row with George Skivington partnering Bryn Evans in the second row, with the All Black captaining the side. Matt Garvey moves to the back row to join Canadian International, Jebb Sinclair and Chris Hala'ufia.

New signing Pat Phibbs will start at scrum-half and Steven Shingler and Sailosi Tagicakibau will form the centre combination. Jonathan Joseph moves to the wing.

"We've trained well this week and we're looking forward to the contest tomorrow," said London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith.

"Gloucester are a very good team and deserve to go into the match as favourites, however we are looking at the contest as an opportunity to claim a big scalp. There is some history between the two clubs in recent times and the boys are very aware of that."

Form: Gloucester's last seven encounters in the Aviva Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Gloucester have won their last nine games at Kingsholm in all competitions since a Northampton victory there on the opening weekend of the season. London Irish have won just one game in any competition since October: 34-28 at home to Sale Sharks in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on 11 November. The Exiles most recent Premiership try was scored by Topsy Ojo 275 minutes ago against Exeter at Madejski Stadium. The two clubs have already met on three occasions this season with Gloucester victorious each time - once in the Premiership and twice in the European Challenge Cup. London Irish have not won at Kingsholm since a visit on 28 January 2006.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Will James, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Tim Molenaar, 23 Martyn Thomas.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Jonathan Joseph, 13 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 12 Steve Shingler, 11 Marland Yarde, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Pat Phibbs, 8 Chris Hala'ufia, 7 Jebb Sinclair, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 George Skivington, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Alex Corbisiero.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Jamie Gibson, 21 Guy Armitage, 22 Shane Geraghty, 23 Darren Allinson.

Date: Saturday, January 5
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees: Roy Maybank, Gareth Copsey
Timekeeper: Mike Hamlin

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