Danny Cipriani starts for Gloucester against Munster

Date published: January 10 2019

Gloucester trio Danny Cipriani, Ollie Thorley and Franco Marais return to the matchday 23 for their Champions Cup clash with Munster on Friday.

Other changes from the side that started at Welford Road against Leicester Tigers last Saturday see Henry Walker come in at hooker, Franco Mostert move to the blindside flank from the second-row with Ed Slater taking Mostert’s place in the engine room and Lewis Ludlow back at openside flanker.

Pool 2 is the tightest of all the groups, with all the teams within four points of each other. The Cherry and Whites have lost their last two Premiership games, but head coach Johan Ackermann insists it’s about looking forward and not back.

“Having those losses were disappointing and not good for us. But my message to the players was that history can’t be changed and we can only control what’s in front of us,” he said.

“We’ve learned lessons from the past two weeks and implemented them into our training to try and get better. But we’ve not been sulking about it. Friday’s challenge is massive and, if you go into it with a negative mindset, it’s not going to help.

“We’re looking forward to a big challenge against a quality side and, after this weekend, we’ll know where we are in the pool. But we can’t worry about that, we just have to put in a big performance and let the result look after itself.”

Meanwhile, Peter O’Mahony captains Munster with six changes to the side that defeated Connacht last weekend.

Chris Farrell keeps his place after receiving positive news on a knee scan this week.

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Mike Haley, Rory Scannell, Conor Murray, Dave Kilcoyne, Stephen Archer and CJ Stander all come into the side.

Haley starts at full-back with Andrew Conway and Keith Earls on the wings.

Scannell and Farrell form the centre partnership with Murray and Joey Carbery in the half-backs.

Kilcoyne, Niall Scannell and Archer pack down in the front-row with Jean Kleyn and Tadhg Beirne in the engine room.

O’Mahony, Tommy O’Donnell and Stander make up the Munster back-row.

Rhys Marshall returns from injury and is named among the replacements with the hooker set to make his first appearance since October’s clash against Gloucester.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Tom Hudson, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Ben Morgan (c), 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Franco Mostert, 5 Gerbrandt Grobler, 4 Ed Slater, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Henry Walker, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 Franco Marais, 17 Alex Seville, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Freddie Clarke, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Ben Vellacott, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Henry Trinder

Munster: 15 Mike Haley, 14 Andrew Conway, 13 Chris Farrell, 12 Rory Scannell, 11 Keith Earls, 10 Joey Carbery, 9 Conor Murray, 8 CJ Stander, 7 Tommy O’Donnell, 6 Peter O’Mahony (c), 5 Tadhg Beirne, 4 Jean Kleyn, 3 Stephen Archer, 2 Niall Scannell, 1 Dave Kilcoyne
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Jeremy Loughman, 18 John Ryan, 19 Billy Holland, 20 Arno Botha, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Tyler Bleyendaal, 23 Dan Goggin

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant referees: Andrea Piardi (Italy), Vincenzo Schipani (Italy)
TMO: Stefano Pennè (Italy)