Aviva Premiership match preview: Gloucester v Saracens
Last Updated: 20/04/13 3:03pm
Gloucester have made five changes ahead of their Aviva Premiership clash against league leaders Saracens at Kingsholm on Saturday.
Director of Rugby Nigel Davies makes front and back line changes in an attempt to keep Gloucester's play-off ambitions alive.
Injuries sustained by Huia Edmonds and Dario Chistolini at Sale last week mean Koree Britton and Shaun Knight start in the front row.
The changes see Tom Savage move into the second row as well as assume the captaincy while Sione Kalamafoni starts in the flanks with Ben Morgan wearing the number eight jersey on his return after spending four months out.
In the backs Charlie Sharples returns to the right wing while Henry Trinder gets the nod ahead of Mike Tindall at centre where he will partner Billy Twelvetrees.
Meanwhile top-of-the-table Saracens travel to Gloucester with six changes in personnel with an international trio rested with the play-offs in sight.
Mark McCall has opted to start Owen Farrell at centre while Richard Wigglesworth returns to the side at scrum-half.
Captain Steve Borthwick, Alistair Hargreaves, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert all return to the pack following absences.
England backs Chris Ashton and Brad Barritt both sit out of the visit to Gloucester as does Scotland forward Kelly Brown.
Gloucester enter the clash five points adrift of the play-off places while Saracens hold a comfortable four-point advantage at the head of the table.
Saracens: 15 Alex Goode, 14 Chris Wyles, 13 Joel Tomkins, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 David Strettle, 10 Charlie Hodgson, 9 Richard Wigglesworth, 8 Ernst Joubert, 7 Will Fraser, 6 Jackson Wray, 5 Alistair Hargreaves, 4 Steve Borthwick (capt), 3 Matt Stevens, 2 John Smit, 1 Rhys Gill.
Replacements:16 Jamie George, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Carlos Nieto, 19 George Kruis, 20 Jacques Burger, 21 Ben Spencer, 22 Duncan Taylor, 23 Joe Maddock.
Gloucester:15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Nick Wood, 7 Koree Britton, 6 Shaun Knight, 5 Tom Savage (capt), 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Sione Kalamafoni, 2 Akapusi Qera, 1 Ben Morgan.
Replacements:16 Tommaso d'Apice, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Yann Thomas, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Andy Hazell, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Ryan Mills, 23 Martyn Thomas.
What they said...
Gloucester Director of Rugby Nigel Davies
"You have to give Saracens credit, they're a very efficient side. They know what they do, and they do it very well.
"We have to be on our mettle on Saturday. We have to be clear about what our game plan is. The real battle will be about the gain line both with and without the ball, and both teams will be looking to win that battle. It's going to be a physical encounter."
Aviva Premiership 2012/13 Round 21
Exeter coach Rob Baxter praised his side after they closed on a place in the Heineken Cup by winning at Wasps.
Exeter closed on the sixth and final Heineken Cup spot for next season with a 37-24 bonus-point victory over Wasps.
Reaction from Soane Tonga'uiha and Brian Mujati after Northampton beat Sale Sharks 47-7 to claim a place in the Aviva Premiership semi-finals.
- Mallinder: Saints staying calm
- Saints secure play-off place
- O'Shea lauds brilliant Care
- Smith praises in-form Aulika
- Ford targets Heineken Cup spot
- Fraser a doubt for Toulon semi
- Quins secure play-off berth
- Irish run riot against Welsh
- Sarries streak comes to a halt
- Louw leaves it late for Bath
- Fiddes' Cent
- Wasps v Exeter: Teams
- L Irish v L Welsh: Teams
- Bath v Leicester: Teams
- Worcester v Quins: Teams
- Northampton v Sale: Teams