Gloucester bolstered for clash with depleted Exeter

Date published: February 14 2019

Two games kick off Round 13 of the Premiership season on Friday as Bristol Bears host Wasps while Gloucester face leaders Exeter Chiefs.

Bristol v Wasps

Siale Piutau and Alapati Leiua return from the sidelines to be named in the backline, while Luke Daniels makes his first Premiership start since the opening day of the campaign.

In the pack, John Hawkins is set for his first Premiership outing, while Jordan Crane – who penned a one-year extension in early February – co-captains the side from number eight.

Luke Morahan is unavailable for up to two weeks with a facial laceration, while Will Hurrell requires surgery for a shoulder injury and could be sidelined for up to six months, ruling the centre out for the rest of the campaign.

International duo Charles Piutau and Jack Lam are listed among the replacements for the Ashton Gate clash.

Meanwhile, Dan Robson, Thomas Young and Michele Campagnaro have all returned from international duty to feature for Wasps in the Round 13 clash.

Robson, who made his Test debut off the bench for England in Sunday’s win over France, starts at scrum-half while Young, who impressed in Wales’ win over Italy, starts in the back-row.

Campagnaro returns from Italy duty to feature on the wing, with Wasps top try-scorer Josh Bassett on the opposite flank, as he looks to build on his impressive ten tries so far in this campaign.

Springbok Willie le Roux starts at full-back while Juan de Jongh is joined by Gaby Lovobalavu in the centres. Billy Searle joins Robson in the half-back combination.

The pack sees Will Stuart starting at tighthead after a wrist injury keeps Jake Cooper-Woolley sidelined, and the young prop is joined by Georgia international Zurabi Zhvania and Tom Cruse in the front-row.

Will Rowlands and James Gaskell occupy the second-row while Ashley Johnson skippers the side from the back-row next to Young and Nizaam Carr.

Simon McIntyre returns after three months out with concussion and is named as tighthead replacement.

Bristol: 15 Luke Daniels, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Piers O’Conor, 12 Siale Piutau (cc), 11 Alapati Leiua, 10 Ian Madigan, 9 Harry Randall, 8 Jordan Crane (cc), 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Steve Luatua, 5 Chris Vui, 4 John Hawkins, 3 John Afoa, 2 Harry Thacker, 1 Yann Thomas
Replacements: 16 Nick Fenton-Wells, 17 Jake Woolmore, 18 Lewis Thiede, 19 Nick Haining, 20 Jack Lam, 21 Andy Uren, 22 Callum Sheedy, 23 Charles Piutau

Wasps: 15 Willie le Roux, 14 Michele Campagnaro, 13 Juan de Jongh, 12 Gaby Lovobalavu, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Billy Searle, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nizaam Carr, 7 Thomas Young, 6 Ashley Johnson (c), 5 James Gaskell, 4 Will Rowlands, 3 Will Stuart, 2 Tom Cruse, 1 Zurabi Zhvania
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ben Harris, 18 Simon McIntyre, 19 Kearnan Myall, 20 Ben Morris, 21 Joe Simpson, 22 Lima Sopoaga, 23 Rob Miller

Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Ashton Gate
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Wayne Falla, Karl Dickson
Television match official: Sean Davey

Gloucester v Exeter

Gloucester are able to welcome back a number of players from injury for the visit of Exeter Chiefs to Kingsholm in Friday’s Premiership clash.

The Cherry and Whites have had to cope with a lengthy injury list over the past couple of months, but several players are named in the starting line-up having missed out recently including Ruan Ackermann, Tom Marshall and Jason Woodward.

Ackermann has been out since early November, Marshall since mid-October and Woodward since the win at Newcastle on December 23. Their returns are all a boost for Gloucester who are seeking to consolidate their challenge for a top four finish.

Also named in the matchday squad for the first time since early December is hooker James Hanson.

For Exeter, England have kept hold of six key personnel – Ben Moon, Luke Cowan-Dickie, Harry Williams, Ollie Devoto, Jack Nowell and Henry Slade – but boss Rob Baxter does have at his disposal Welsh tighthead Tomas Francis, who having not featured against Italy last weekend will be looking to make his mark at Kingsholm.

Francis packs down in a front-row alongside fellow prop Alec Hepburn and skipper Jack Yeandle, while behind there is plenty of force on offer in the shape of Dave Dennis, Jonny Hill, Dave Ewers, Sean Lonsdale and Matt Kvesic.

In the back division, the absence of Devoto and Slade mean Sam Hill and Ian Whitten team up in the midfield, whilst Baxter sticks with an unchanged back three of Phil Dollman, Santi Cordero and Tom O’Flaherty, as well as an untouched half-back pairing of Nic White and Joe Simmonds.

On the bench, Academy youngsters Billy Keast and Richard Capstick, the latter of whom will make his Premiership debut if he is introduced at any stage, are both included having impressed against Bristol in the Premiership Rugby Cup last time out.

Gloucester: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom Marshall, 13 Billy Twelvetrees, 12 Mark Atkinson, 11 Ollie Thorley, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Willi Heinz (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Ruan Ackermann, 6 Freddie Clarke, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Josh Hohneck
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Paddy McAllister, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Gerbrandt Grobler, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Matt Banahan

Exeter: 15 Phil Dollman, 14 Santiago Cordero, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Tom O’Flaherty, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Nic White, 8 Matt Kvesic, 7 Sean Lonsdale, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Dave Dennis, 3 Tomas Francis, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Elvis Taione, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Greg Holmes, 19 Mitch Lees, 20 Richard Capstick, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Gareth Steenson, 23 Tom Hendrickson

Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Steve Lee
Television match official: Trevor Fisher