PACKED! Gloucester vs Bath a Kingsholm capacity sell-out

Gallagher Premiership logoWest derby rivals Gloucester Rugby and Bath Rugby both have make changes to their winning starting XVs for today's sell-out Premiership clash at Kingsholm (1500).

With only four rounds of Gallagher Premiership action remaining, every remaining game is important and the fact that it’s a local derby just adds a little extra spice to the occasion.

The Cherry and Whites are able to name an unchanged pack from the side that won 40-31 at Northampton Saints last Sunday but further injuries to the back line mean Gloucester have to reshuffle their back three again.

Tom Hudson and Charlie Sharples, who started at Franklin’s Gardens, have been ruled out and are replaced by Henry Purdy and Tom Seabrook. Matt Banahan moves to full-back.

There is a first call-up to the first team matchday squad for 18-year-old winger Louis Rees-Zammit, the latest product of the Gloucester Rugby Academy who has been featuring regularly in the Premiership Rugby Shield this season.

Head Coach Johan Ackermann stresses Gloucester Rugby have to treat today's derby clash like any other.

Ackermann says "We don’t look at Bath any differently from any other game. I know it is for the supporters, and I appreciate that, all the history etcetera that makes this game so special for them.

“We’ve put ourselves in a position where we must just focus on ourselves and we could be playing any team on Saturday. For us it’s about can we play well, can we put the pressure on the other side through playing well?

“We were complacent at Bristol after two good wins, but we have to believe that we can maintain our form. Bath are a quality side, full of international players, and played well against us earlier in the season. It won’t be easy, but it’s a nice challenge to have.”

Beno Obano comes in at loosehead prop for Bath while Freddie Burns will start against his former club at fly-half.

Obano starts in an otherwise unchanged front row from last weekend’s bonus-point 26-19 victory over Bristol Bears at Twickenham.

Jamie Roberts and Jonathan Joseph, both try scorers in the win at Twickenham form the centre partnership.

Tom Homer, who played a key role in Bath’s triumph last season at Kingsholm starts at full-back.

Gloucester Rugby starting 15 Matt Banahan; 14. Tom Seabrook, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Henry Purdy; 10. Danny Cipriani, Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert; 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jaco Kriel, 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements 16. Mike Sherry, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Gareth Denman, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Jake Polledri, 22. Callum Braley, 23. Louis Rees-Zammit

Unavailable for selection: Ruan Dreyer, Lloyd Evans, Gerbrandt Grobler, James Hanson, Tom Hudson, Tom Marshall, Charlie Sharples, Ollie Thorley, Henry Trinder, Owen Williams, Jason Woodward

Bath Rugby starting 15 Tom Homer 14. Joe Cokanasiga 13. Jonathan Joseph 12. Jamie Roberts 11. Ruaridh McConnochie 10. Freddie Burns 9. Kahn Fotuali’i 1. Beno Obano 2. Tom Dunn 3. Max Lahiff 4. Dave Attwood 5. Charlie Ewels (c) 6. Tom Ellis 7. Sam Underhill 8. Zach Mercer

Replacements 16. Jack Walker 17. Jacques van Rooyen 18. Anthony Perenise 19. Elliott Stooke 20. Miles Reid 21. Will Chudley 22. Rhys Priestland 23. Max Clark

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