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Marshall set for first start of season as Gloucester prepare for Wasps trip

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Author: Contributed, Posted: Friday, 22nd December 2017, 18:10

Tom Marshall will make his first start of the season for Gloucester at Wasps on Saturday afternoon, as the Cherry and Whites make eight changes for the Aviva Premiership Rugby fixture at the Ricoh Stadium.

Marshall, who signed a new contract with the club recently, has been sidelined due to injury since pre-season but now returns for his first appearance since the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.

He is one of only two changes in the back line, the other seeing the return of scrum-half Willi Heinz who also resumes the captaincy.

In the pack, there is a totally new front row in Paddy McAllister, James Hanson and John Afoa while Tom Savage will partner Ed Slater in the second row.

Jake Polledri keeps his place in the back row but will be partnered by Lewis Ludlow and Ruan Ackermann who both sat out last weekend’s win over Zebre.

Wasps have won their last four Aviva Premiership Rugby fixtures, while Gloucester have lost only once in their last nine matches in all competitions. It’s shaping up to be a big encounter involving two in form teams, a fact not lost upon Gloucester’s head coach Johan Ackermann.

“Credit to them, they’ve got back to playing the rugby which saw them reach the final last year and reach the top four consistently,” he said.

“We’ve got a bit of momentum and have won a few games but, and I don’t want to repeat myself, we haven’t achieved anything yet. There are massive games ahead, none more so than playing Wasps at their home.

“It’s going to be massive, but we have to be confident and prepare as well as we can. We have to look at ourselves and play to our standards, the way we want to play. Everyone has to do their bit for the team and the result will look after itself.”

Gloucester: 15. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Paddy McAllister, 2. James Hanson, 3. John Afoa; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Ed Slater; 6. Jake Polledri, 7. Lewis Ludlow, 8. Ruan Ackermann Replacements: 16. Richard Hibbard, 17. Cameron Orr, 18. Josh Hohneck, 19. Jeremy Thrush, 20. Freddie Clarke, 21. Ben Vellacott, 22. Owen Williams, 23. Henry Trinder.

Unavailable for selection: Fraser Balmain, Gareth Denman, Tom Denton, Gareth Evans, Ben Morgan, Ross Moriarty, Val Rapava Ruskin, Jacob Rowan.

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