Aviva Premiership Preview
Gloucester look to regroup
August 31, 2010
Bryan Redpath came very close to being dismissed last season before ultimately steadying the Gloucester ship © Getty Images
Last season: 7th
Ins: No headline grabbing act for the 'Shedheads' to get excited over this summer. Two ex-Leicester forwards in Brett Deacon and Jim Hamilton (via Edinburgh and Scotland) are hardly big names though both will quickly endear themselves to the regulars if they produce consistent ball-winning form. Worcester flanker Matt Cox also comes with a forceful reputation but he's not big when it comes to the box-office.
Outs: Deacon, Hamilton and Cox are low-key recruits for some big name departures. Italian lock Marco Bortolami has returned home to play for the new Aironi franchise in the Magners League. He has been joined at the exit gate by Northampton-bound Adam Eustace while No.8 Gareth Delve and ex-New Zealand prop Greg Somerville have signed up to supply Danny Cipriani plentiful possession at the Melbourne Rebels.
Coach: Bryan Redpath, like Steve Meehan at Bath, endured a sticky patch last autumn having taken over from Dean Ryan. His days looked numbered but he survived through an upturn in results and the backing of chairman Tom Walkinshaw. Redpath grew in confidence as the season progressed and was helped by his side reaching the final of the Anglo-Welsh Cup and three wins from the last four Premiership games, including one over finalists Saracens. Despite the loss of the big names, he insists he has a team that will continue to improve. But the decision of Sir Ian McGeechan to opt for Bath after working as a consultant at Kingsholm shows which south west team has the greater resources at the moment.
Prediction: More mid-table (fifth or sixth) than top four. Might make a Cup final if they are favoured by a good draw.
Toulon's Heineken Cup final victory over Clermont Auvergne may have ended a long title drought for the Top 14 club but two of their players are no strangers to success
We bring you our pick of the best pictures from around the world in the last seven days with the battle for Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup glory taking centre stage
"If you listen carefully you should be able to hear them mining the granite for the statue of a certain Jonny Wilkinson" Graham Jenkins reports from the Heineken Cup Final
Quade Cooper's defence is better than it was 12 months ago and Robbie Deans has erred in omitting him from the core Wallabies squad to play the Lions, Greg Growden writes