Gloucester’s Danny Cipriani returns for Exeter clash

Date published: February 13 2020

Fly-half Danny Cipriani and second-row Ed Slater have returned to Gloucester’s matchday squad for their game against Exeter Chiefs on Friday.

The Cherry and Whites are able to call upon their recent Six Nations representatives, with the exception of Willi Heinz and Ollie Thorley, although Owen Williams is ruled out with a hamstring injury picked up while away with Wales.

There are four changes to the starting line-up from the one that featured against Bristol Bears three weeks ago.

Matt Banahan comes in at full-back for Jason Woodward who picked up a calf injury at Ashton Gate. Billy Twelvetrees takes over from Mark Atkinson at inside centre and Cipriani returns at fly-half.

The one change in the pack sees Gerbrandt Grobler replace Alex Craig in the second-row. Fellow lock Slater is named amongst the replacements, featuring for the first time since early November having recovered from a foot injury, while Franco Mostert captains the team.

Meanwhile, Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter has been buoyed by the return of several key first-team names.

Scottish captain Stuart Hogg is back at full-back, while Aussie scrum-half Nic White also takes his place in the XV.

Up front, England international Harry Williams was not needed by Eddie Jones for his latest training camp, so he starts in the front-row alongside Elvis Taione and Ben Moon.

Form: Gloucester’s only two victories in the last seven rounds of Gallagher Premiership Rugby were both at home, to Worcester and Bath in rounds 6 and 8. The Cherry & Whites have won their last four home games Kingsholm in all tournaments since Toulouse beat them there in November. Exeter Chiefs’ four game winning run in Gallagher Premiership Rugby ended with their 19-22 home defeat to Sale in Round 9. The Chiefs have not been defeated away from home in any competition since they visited Bath in Round 2 of Premiership Rugby. Gloucester beat Exeter 24-17 at Kingsholm in their most recent meeting but have not secured successive wins over the Devonians in Premiership Rugby since 2011.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Matt Banahan, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Tom Marshall, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Joe Simpson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Franco Mostert (c), 4 Gerbrandt Grobler, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Franco Marais, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Todd Gleave, 17 Josh Hohneck, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Freddie Clarke, 21 Jake Polledri, 22 Callum Braley, 23 Mark Atkinson

Exeter Chiefs: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Tom O’Flaherty, 13 Ian Whitten, 12 Sam Hill, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Gareth Steenson (c), 9 Nic White, 8 Sam Simmonds, 7 Jacques Vermeulen, 6 Dave Ewers, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Jannes Kirsten, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Elvis Taione, 1 Ben Moon
Replacements: 16 Jordon Poole, 17 Billy Keast, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Dave Dennis, 20 Sam Skinner, 21 Jack Maunder, 22 Harvey Skinner, 23 Phil Dollman

Venue: Kingsholm
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Craig Maxwell-Keys
Assistant referees: Adam Leal, Phil Watters
Television match official: Claire Hodnett