Gloucester eye back-to-back finals
March 11, 2011
Charlie Sharples has been leading the way for Gloucester © Getty Images
Gloucester welcome the Dragons to Kingsholm on Sunday with an eye on consecutive appearances in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final.
The Cherry and Whites are in a rich vein of form and will be confident of seeing off the Dragons, who are flying the flag for Wales in the last four, despite losing out at Rodney Parade in the opening round.
Last season saw Gloucester pipped at the final hurdle by a free-flowing Northampton side and with nine wins on the bounce in all competitions they will see little room for failure this weekend.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: Scottish lock Jim Hamilton may be off Andy Robinson's radar but the Dragons will find it hard to miss the giant second-rower, who has been at his powerful best in recent weeks.
Gloucester - Team News: Due to international call-ups there are four changes to the home side, with Jordi Pasqualin recalled in place of Rory Lawson at scrum-half. In the pack, Olivier Azam takes over from Scott Lawson at hooker, Rupert Harden starts at tight-head in place of Paul Doran-Jones and Alex Brown returns to the second-row.
Dragons - Player to Watch: Toby Faletau is back from injury for the Dragons and the powerful No.8 will need to get through a lot of work to outshine in-form opposite nunber Luke Narraway.
Dragons - Team News: Martyn Thomas, Aled Brew and Will Harries return to the back-three and with Scott Morgan and Rob Sidoli out injured, skipper Luke Charteris is joined by Adam Jones in the second-row.
Key Battle: Tom Voyce and Charlie Sharples have been in good form out wide for Gloucester but the visitors boast plenty of firepower. The hosts will want to play a quick, precise game so the Dragons must match them for pace.
Trivia: Should they triumph, the Dragons will be set for a first major final in the region's history.
Stats: Gloucester wing Charlie Sharples and his Dragons counterpart Adam Hughes are among five players tied as the top try-scorer in this season's tournament, having crossed three times.
"We've played the Dragons a few times over the past couple of seasons and won some and lost some. We have to get our heads around that." - Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath
"I'm so excited for our players. Gloucester are flying high at the moment, but we're not going there to make up the numbers - we're going there to play. We're going to go at them all guns blazing." - Dragons coach Darren Edwards will not be backing down this weekend
Prediction: The Dragons will give everything they have but Gloucester are in good nick at the moment and should get the job done.
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