Challenge Cup: 100 up for Ollie Thorley as Maro Itoje returns for Saracens

Colin Newboult

George Skivington has named his side for Gloucester’s European Challenge Cup quarter-final against Saracens with Ollie Thorley set to make his 100th appearance.

There are just three changes to the starting line-up that beat Bath 64-0 last time out with Val Rapava-Ruskin and Fraser Balmain both returning to the front-row and Jordy Reid coming into the starting side at flanker.

The backline is unchanged with Santiago Carreras starting at fullback with Louis Rees-Zammit and Thorley on the wings. Mark Atkinson and Chris Harris partner in the midfield with Adam Hastings and Charlie Chapman at half-back.

In the Gloucester pack, Freddie Clarke and Matias Alemanno continuing their partnership in the second-row. Ben Morgan, Jordy Reid and captain Lewis Ludlow complete the forward eight.

There is a strong list of replacements with Santiago Socino, Harry Elrington, Jamal Ford-Robinson, Andrew Davidson and Jack Clement covering the forwards and Ben Meehan, Billy Twelvetrees and Tom Seabrook covering the backs.

Three changes for Saracens

Meanwhile, Saracens have made three changes to the starting XV from the side that beat Worcester Warriors last weekend, with two up front and one in the backline.

Eroni Mawi, Jamie George and Vincent Koch continue in an unchanged front-row, with a big boost in the second-row as Maro Itoje returns to partner Tim Swinson.

Theo McFarland moves to blindside flanker, with Ben Earl at openside and Billy Vunipola at number eight.

Aled Davies and captain Owen Farrell will maintain their partnership as half-backs, as will Nick Tompkins and Elliot Daly in the midfield.

Sean Maitland is on the left wing, with Rotimi Segun on the right wing, and Alex Goode returns at full-back.

On the bench there is another injury boost as Alex Lozowski is back in the matchday squad, and there is also significant international experience with the likes of Nick Isiekwe and Duncan Taylor ready to enter proceedings in the Challenge Cup last-eight.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Santiago Carreras, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Adam Hastings, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Jordy Reid, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Jack Singleton, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Santiago Socino, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19 Andrew Davidson, 20 Jack Clement, 21 Ben Meehan, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Tom Seabrook

Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Rotimi Segun, 13 Elliot Daly, 12 Nick Tompkins, 11 Sean Maitland, 10 Owen Farrell (c), 9 Aled Davies, 8 Billy Vunipola, 7 Ben Earl, 6 Theo McFarland, 5 Tim Swinson, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Vincent Koch, 2 Jamie George, 1 Eroni Mawi
Replacements: 16 Kapeli Pifeleti, 17 Richard Barrington, 18 Alec Clarey, 19 Nick Isiekwe, 20 Andy Christie, 21 Ivan van Zyl, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Alex Lozowski

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 20:00 BST (19:00 GMT)
Referee: Frank Murphy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Adam Jones (Wales), Eoghan Cross (Ireland)
TMO: Brian MacNeice (Ireland)

READ MORE: Sale Sharks to rely on character for tough Racing 92 clash