Saracens - Preview: Gloucester (H)

Sep 21, 2018

Preview: Gloucester (H)


Twitter: @gloucesterrugby
Ground: Kingsholm
Capacity: 16,115

European Challenge Cup – 2005/06, 2014/15
Anglo-Welsh Cup – 1971/72, 1977/78, 1981/82, 2002/03, 2010/11
Championship – 2001/02
C&G League Cup – 1997/98, 1998/99
National Merit Table ‘A’ – 1985/86
Middlesex 7s – 2005
Premiership 7s – 2013, 2014

Last season:
Premiership: 7th
European Challenge Cup: Finalists (lost to Cardiff Blues)
Anglo-Welsh Cup: Pool stage
Premiership Top Scorer: Henry Trinder (6)

Ins: Matt Banahan (Bath), Danny Cipriani (Wasps), Ruan Dreyer, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert (Lions), Todd Gleave (London Irish), Gerbrandt Grobler (Munster), Franco Marais (Sharks).

Outs: John Afoa, Harry Randall (both Bristol Bears), Charlie Beckett (Jersey Reds), Ed Bogue (Cinderford), Elliott Creed (Doncaster Knights), Tom Denton (Ealing Trailfinders), David Halaifonua (Coventry), Richard Hibbard (Dragons), Motu Matu’u (London Irish), Ross Moriarty (Dragons), Alfie North, Carwyn Penny, Mason Tonks, Jacob Rowan (all released), Cameron Orr, Jeremy Thrush (both Western Force), Matt Scott (Edinburgh), Andy Symons (Northampton Saints).


Following a decent recruitment drive, Gloucester have been tipped by many to end the 2018/19 Gallagher Premiership season in the play-offs. Johan Ackermann’s side were seven points off a top four finish last term but did reach the Challenge Cup final. Now with Danny Cipriani, Matt Banahan, Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert et al. in tow, the Cherry & Whites look an even more dangerous proposition full of attacking intent but with a stern defence. A roaring Kingsholm is a challenging place for most to travel to and if they can get their away form right (Gloucester lost 11 times in all competitions last season) then they could be in for a successful year.


In Ackermann’s second year in charge of the Lions, the South African franchise made great strides, finishing second in their conference that season before back-to-back Super Rugby finals. Now in his second term at Kingsholm, Ackermann will be gunning for similar success and his advantage is having a more established outfit in Gloucester so it’s fair to assume their upward curve could end up looking pretty steep. Former Springbok Ackermann, who became the oldest player to represent his country aged 37 in 2007 and also became the oldest to play in Super Rugby. He won the SARU Coach of the Year award in 2014 - his first year as head coach and has also coached the Golden Lions in his homeland.


While the start of his time at Gloucester may have been controversial off the pitch, Cipriani has dazzled on it. The 30-year-old was awarded man of the match on his debut against Northampton Saints and his wonder pass to Charlie Sharples was the main topic of conversation on everyone’s lips. He backed it up with another outrageous offload which led an important score in the Cherry and Whites’ draw with Bath. For the past year or so, Cipriani’s performances have been put under the microscope with his inclusion in the England squad in the balance, and the former Sale Sharks man is surprise exclusion from his country’s latest training camp.


Sunday 15th May 2011

Saracens 12
Farrell (4)

Gloucester 10
Robinson Con: Robinson Pen: Robinson

Saracens held off Gloucester in a tight, tense match to reach the Premiership final.

Four penalties from teenage fly-half Owen Farrell ensured victory for the Men in Black and a second successive final against Leicester Tigers.

The 19-year-old landed two kicks before half-time, answered by one from Nicky Robinson, in an error-strewn match dominated by rugged defending.

Sarries skipper Steve Borthwick was harshly sin-binned after the break for an offence at a line-out. Just past the hour the lock appeared to take Alex Brown out in the air but replays indicated the decision was highly questionable.

The officials then missed a genuine offence minutes later when Jacques Burger hit Gloucester full-back Freddie Burns with a very late tackle, before Robinson scored the game’s only try; the Welshman charging down and dotting under the posts.

It wasn’t enough for the Cherry & Whites as Farrell’s kicking proved too much for them.

Saracens: Goode, Strettle, Wyles, Barritt, Short, Farrell, Wigglesworth, Stevens, Brits, Nieto, Borthwick, Botha, K. Brown, Burger, Joubert. Replacements: George, Gill, du Plessis, Vyvyan, Saull, de Kock, Mordt, Cato. Sin Bin: Borthwick (63).

Gloucester: Burns, Sharples, Molenaar, Fuimaono-Sapolu, Simpson-Daniel, Robinson, R. Lawson, Wood, S. Lawson, Doran-Jones, Hamilton, Brown, Strokosch, Qera, Narraway. Replacements: Dawidiuk, Dickinson, Harden, Attwood, Deacon, Voyce, Trinder, Lewis.


Gloucester's best season was 1981/82. The Cherry and Whites played 48, won 42, lost 3, drew 3; scoring 1,045 points and conceding 338.

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