Gloucester retreat to fortress Kingsholm
September 10, 2010
Will Gloucester's James Simpson-Daniel catch the eye once again? © Getty Images
A wounded Gloucester return to more comfortable surroundings this weekend, welcoming Leeds to Kingsholm in the second round of Aviva Premiership action.
The Cherry and Whites were shown up 22-10 by league new boys Exeter last time out, missing a host of chances as they got their season off to an underwhelming start. Leeds have equal reason to make amends this week after being swept aside by Bath at home in round one. The 32-16 defeat gave coaching duo Andy Key and Neil Back, who on Thursday signed new deals at Headingley, plenty to think about as they look to cement their place in the top flight.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: Winger James Simpson-Daniel was a star performer in the defeat at Sandy Park and a similar display could boost his chances come the November internationals.
Gloucester - Team News: Gloucester make five changes in the wake of their loss to the Chiefs with summer signing Brett Deacon handed a start at blindside. Further changes see Charlie Sharples come in for Olly Morgan at fullback and Rory Lawson return at scrum-half. Alasdair Dickinson is named at loose-head with Nick Wood moving to the replacements bench and Andy Hazell gets the nod at openside.
Leeds - Player to Watch: Recent signing Christian Lewis-Pratt is handed his chance to shine having impressed in the 'A' league but does the 19-year-old have that game to excel on the Premiership stage?
Leeds - Team News: Leeds show five changes to the side that lost to Bath with Scott Barrow replacing the injured Lachlan MacKay at inside centre and Christian Lewis-Pratt earning a promotion from the 'A' team. The other three changes come in the pack with USA international Mike MacDonald replacing Miguel Alonso and Phil Swainston coming in for the injured Juan Gomez. Finally, Alfie To'oala starts this week at blindside flanker with Kearnan Myall amongst the replacements.
Key Battle: The Kingsholm faithful will relish the opportunity to stuck into young Lewis-Pratt who face a stiff test of his credentials. By all accounts he has a lot of promise but can he carry Leeds to victory with The Shed on his back?
Trivia: James Tincknell could make his Leeds and Aviva Premiership Rugby debut off the bench. Tincknell only returned to playing rugby two seasons ago with Old Otliensians having had a promising career as a professional cricketer cut short.
Stats: Gloucester have won their last six encounters with Leeds, with the Yorkshiremen's only previous victory at Kingsholm coming with a 33-15 win in April 2005.
"Monday was tough because we reviewed the unedited video and went through the errors and mistakes. It needed to be looked at and it was pretty honest. Everyone has had their say. There was some frustration but we have to move onwards and upwards." - Gloucester coach Bryan Redpath reflects on a tough week.
"We have reviewed the game at the start of the week and there were certainly opportunities for us in the first half that we did not make the most of. Bath were very clinical in the second half and they took their chances which in the end was the difference between the two teams." - Leeds coach Neil Back pinpoints his side's shortcomings.
Fantasy: It's round two of ESPN Fantasy Rugby this weekend and there are several players with points to prove in this game. Gloucester wing James Simpson-Daniel looked sharp in round one despite defeat while Leeds will again be looking to the reliable boot of fly-half Ceiron Thomas.
Prediction: Many think that Gloucester should have won at Exeter and that defeat is sure to prompt a strong backlash - with Leeds set to pay unless they can find an extra gear or two.
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