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Preview: Gloucester v Worcester

21st February 2013 12:20

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Worcester v Gloucester Will James

Local rivals: Gloucester host Worcester

Gloucester Director of Rugby Nigel Davies has made two changes to his starting line up for Friday's visit of local rivals Worcester Warriors to Kingsholm.

Davies makes one change to his pack, and one to his back line. Dan Murphy replaces Nick Wood at loose head prop, while Henry Trinder partners Mike Tindall in the Gloucester midfield in place of Tim Molenaar.

Gloucester currently find themselves in fifth position, four points behind London Wasps who occupy the final play off spot.

Gloucester's last game was away at Wasps a hard fought 29-33 defeat last Sunday.

It means the Cherry and Whites have faced a short turnaround this week and Davies confirmed that Gloucester have had to be smart with their scheduling this week.

"We have to consider where we are in the season. A lot of groundwork has been put in already," said Davies.

"It's very much about keeping the energy in this group of players. They worked extremely hard last Sunday up at Wasps and were unlucky not to come away with the win.

"Over the past two weeks, I've been pleased with the performances that have been put in. We've shown a lot of character as well and we've got to show up with the same level of intensity and focus that we had in the last two games.

"Friday night's game is very important for us. It's another derby fixture, so there will be a lot of emotion involved and we have to ensure that we channel our emotions in the right way to be effective.

"Worcester are fighting hard in the Premiership to ease clear of the bottom three teams, while we're trying to force our way into the top four. There's a lot at stake for both teams."

Meanwhile, number eight Blair Cowan and centre Josh Matavesi have been recalled by Worcester .

Cowan makes his first league start of the campaign as part of revamped back row as Head Coach Richard Hill makes a total of four changes to his starting line-up.

The other change in the pack comes at hooker as Ed Shervington is called up to partner Matt Mullan and Euan Murray, who misses the Scotland international game on Sunday due to religious reasons.

Centre Matavesi will partner Alex Grove in midfield while the fit-again Chris Pennell takes the place of Josh Drauniniu, who is ruled out of the game through injury.

"It's a very tough place to go Kingsholm, a big derby under lights, but we normally perform well in these evening games," said Hill.

"The players have been in good spirits despite the defeat to Northampton last weekend; they have come in and worked very hard and it all starts for us on Friday.

"We need a couple of wins to get us away from that bottom area of the table and we will have to work very hard on Friday to try and get the first of them.

"Gloucester will pose very similar problems to us that Northampton did," added Hill.

"They have a very effective drive and when they played against London Wasps last weekend they were very powerful.

"They are a talented side and it will be a real challenge to us. Our defence will certainly be tested in the wider areas as they have got some very sharp players like Jonny May, Charlie Sharples and Rob Cook.

"They will pose threats all over the field and we have to be on our game. But I believe the atmosphere at Kingsholm will suit us and I'm convinced we will get a good performance."

Form: Gloucester tallied a try bonus point in Aviva Premiership Rugby for the first time since Boxing Day 2011 with their 29-33 defeat at London Wasps on Sunday. Gloucester's only win in their last four Premiership games was 27-11 at Northampton on 9 February. Worcester Warriors have slipped to four straight defeats in the Premiership, since their 13-6 victory at home to London Welsh on 21 December. The Warriors' only away win in the competition since they visited Kingsholm in April 2009 was 6-0 at London Wasps on New Year's Day 2012. Worcester have won just one of their last five Premiership fixtures with Gloucester: 21-15 at Sixways on 7 January 2012.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall (c), 11 Jonny May, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Sione Kalamafoni, 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Tom Savage, 5 Will James, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Dan Murphy.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Dario Chistolini, 19Peter Buxton, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Shane Monahan, 22 Tim Molenaar, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Worcester Warriors: 15 Errie Claassens, 14 Chris Pennell, 13 Alex Grove, 12 Josh Matavesi, 11 David Lemi, 10 Andy Goode, 9 Jonny Arr, 8 Blair Cowan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sam Betty, 5 Dean Schofield, 4 James Percival (c), 3 Euan Murray, 2 Ed Shervington, 1 Matt Mullan.
Replacements: 16 Aleki Lutui, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 John Andress, 19 Craig Gillies, 20 Jake Abbott, 21 Paul Hodgson, 22 Danny Gray, 23 Josh Drauniniu.

Date: Friday, 22 February
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19.45 GMT
Referee: David Rose

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