Issued on behalf of Gloucester Rugby
Gloucester Rugby name side for Heineken Cup opener against Perpignan
Hooker Huia Edmonds will make his first start of the season as Gloucester Rugby kick off their 2013-14 Heineken Cup campaign at home to USA Perpignan on Saturday (kick off 6pm).
Edmonds made his first appearance of the season as a replacement last weekend against Exeter Chiefs, having recovered from a knee injury.
The Australian international will feature in a pack that has three new faces from last weekend. Also coming into the starting line up are Shaun Knight and Elliott Stooke.
Stooke’s selection sees skipper Tom Savage moving to the blindside flank, with Sione Kalamafoni moving across to number eight.
There are also three new faces in the backs. All Black Jimmy Cowan gets the nod at scrum half, and Jonny May and Rob Cook return to the back three.
Saturday’s fixture will be the first time that the two teams have met since the 2002-3 season, and Director of Rugby Nigel Davies is looking forward to the encounter.
“It’s a fantastic game to have and we’re delighted to be in Europe. We worked very hard to qualify. We’ve got a couple of things that we need to prove as a team and as a unit, and we’re hoping to do that on Saturday.
“The Heineken Cup is a fantastic platform for all the players, and for the team to be involved in. I’ve been involved in the competition as a coach for many years, getting to two semi finals and six quarter finals. I want this group to experience that as well.
“It’s a very tough group as they all are. But that’s the beauty of the competition. You’re up against the very best teams in Europe. This week’s game is important for a number of reasons but, in the context of the tournament, you have to win your home games. Failing to do that makes it very difficult to qualify.”
Davies acknowledges that Gloucester have a point to prove after last week’s Exeter defeat, but have to channel that disappointment carefully.
“We were all hugely disappointed, but very frustrated and eager to make amends for last week. It was the same going into the Northampton game. We’re anxious to do well but we can’t let that anxiety creep into our performance.”
Rob Cook; Jonny May, Mike Tindall, Billy Twelvetrees, James Simpson-Daniel; Freddie Burns, Jimmy Cowan; Yann Thomas, Huia Edmonds, Shaun Knight; Elliott Stooke, James Hudson; Tom Savage (capt), Matt Kvesic, Sione Kalamafoni
Dan George, Dan Murphy, Rupert Harden, Gareth Evans, Akapusi Qera, Dan Robson, Ryan Mills, Martyn Thomas