Planet Rugby

Preview: Gloucester v Wasps

31st January 2014 12:21

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Scarlets v Gloucester Tavis Knoyle is tackled

At nine for Gloucester: Tavis Knoyle

Will James will skipper a Gloucester side featuring several senior players in Saturday's LV=Cup clash with London Wasps at Kingsholm.

Ryan Mills will wear the number ten shirt after recovering from a foot injury, while also returning from injury is centre Henry Trinder who forms a strong midfield partnership alongside Mike Tindall.

Tavis Knoyle and Martyn Thomas continue at scrum-half and on the wing respectively, while Rob Cook and Shane Monahan return to the starting line up.

There is also a more experienced look to the pack than the one that started in West Wales last Friday.

Nick Wood is back at loose head and James Hudson returns to partner James in the second row. And there is a new back row in Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Cox and Gareth Evans.

Of interest amongst the replacements is the selection of Academy back row forward Sam Underhill, a pupil at Sir Thomas Rich's Grammar School, while Dean Close's Lloyd Evans is selected once again.

Former Australia U20s and Australia Sevens cap, Bill Meakes, who has been playing for Clifton in National League 2 South, will cover the outside backs.

Forwards Coach Andrew Stanley, speaking to the media this week, insisted that the Wasps game is an important one for Gloucester.

"We're missing a few, but there's still good competition for places and we think we've picked a side to represent us that is as strong as we can go.

"For us it's important that we build on the momentum that we've generated over the past couple of weeks. We'll focus on the game on Saturday, build on that and take it into the Sale game the following week.

"A very young looking side took Scarlets to the wire last weekend. They carried the baton. We have a few more senior boys coming back in on Saturday and it's important that they carry that forward."

Meanwhile, there are two changes in the Wasps backline, which see Chris Bell return to captain the side this weekend, joined in the centres by Andrea Masi, who will make his first start after returning from injury with a substitute appearance last Saturday.

Six changes in the pack leave just James Cannon and Rory Pitman in place from the forwards that started against London Irish last weekend.

A totally changed front row of Ricky Reeves, Carlo Festuccia and Phil Swainston will pack down, with Esteban Lozada starting alongside Cannon at lock. Pitman, who starts at number eight, will be joined by Sam Jones and Ashley Johnson on the flanks.

On the bench, new scrum-half signing Brett Sheehan is in line for his first appearance in black and gold. Wasps also retain the services of Kevin Davies, on loan from London Welsh.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Martyn Thomas, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Mike Tindall, 11 Shane Monahan, 10 Ryan Mills, 9 Tavis Knoyle,8 Gareth Evans 7 Matt Cox, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 James Hudson, 4 Will James (captain), 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Koree Britton, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Dan George, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Tom Hicks, 20 Sam Underhill, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Lloyd Evans, 23 Bill Meakes

Wasps: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Tom Howe, 13 Andrea Masi, 12 Chris Bell (c), 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Joe Carlisle, 9 Charlie Davies, 8 Rory Pitman, 7 Sam Jones, 6 Ashley Johnson, 5 James Cannon, 4 Esteban Lozada, 3 Phil Swainston, 2 Carlo Festuccia, 1 Ricky Reeves.
Replacements: 16 Kevin Davies, 17 Simon McIntyre, 18 Taione Vea, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Matt Everard, 21 Brett Sheehan, 22 Will Helu, 23 Charlie Hayter

Date: Saturday, February 1
Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Greg Macdonald (England)

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