Gloucester Name Side To face Cardiff Blues In Bilbao

Ed Slater will skipper Gloucester Rugby against Cardiff Blues in the European Rugby Challenge Cup Final in Bilbao on Friday evening.

The second row leads a side that is very similar to the one that took the field against Bath a fortnight ago, the one exception seeing Ruan Ackermann start at number eight instead of Ben Morgan.

It’s the third final in four years for the Cherry and Whites and they’ll be looking to repeat their 2015 success when they lifted the trophy at the Stoop having defeated Edinburgh.

Head Coach Johan Ackermann is looking for his team to rise to the occasion.

Ackerman said: “Obviously, we’ve had two disappointments in the past two weeks. But, if you look at the Challenge Cup in isolation, we’ve played well, except against Pau, and got into the quarter-finals which was a game which stood out for me because the guys did well to give us that home semi-final.

“We’ve overcome that hurdle and given ourselves the chance in the Final, and hopefully the players will embrace this and put in a good performance to give ourselves an opportunity to lift the trophy and make everybody proud of the season.

“Cardiff are deservedly in the Final. They’re a team with a lot of threats – a very good loose trio and a very good back line.

“They’re a side who will fight for everything and I think it will be a great final between two sides that play a decent brand of rugby.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Jason Woodward; 14. Tom Marshall, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Henry Trinder; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. James Hanson, 3. John Afoa; 4. Ed Slater (capt), 5. Mariano Galarza; 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ruan Ackermann

Replacements:

16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Fraser Balmain, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Andy Symons, 23. Tom Hudson

 

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