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Gloucester pick up the pieces with an Adam Hastings silver lining

By Chris Jones
(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Scotland out-half Adam Hastings is poised to make his first appearance in four months when Gloucester host Sale this Saturday in the Gallagher Premiership. The Kingsholm club had their hopes of making the end-of-season playoffs dashed with last weekend’s home defeat to Bath, but they will attempt to pick up the pieces buoyed by the silver lining of having Hastings and George McGuigan, another long-term absentee, back in the mix after injury.

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Hastings last appeared versus Leicester on Christmas Eve, his shoulder injury requiring surgery, while mid-season signing McGuigan has been sidelined since late January with a knee problem that ruled him out of contention for England squad selection.

Aside from seeing out the Premiership campaign with Gloucester, who have two games remaining, Hastings will look to enhance his Rugby World Cup selection prospects by also being part of Steve Hansen’s World XV squad that will take on the Barbarians on May 28.

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“Adam is back training, which is good news, and he is potentially in the frame for Sale,” enthused Gloucester boss George Skivington. “His name is in the hat for the World XV game and he will definitely play in that one.”

Hastings’ potential return won’t help the ailing Gloucester scrum, though, the aspect of the game that left them down badly when beaten 33-24 by Bath. “If you get blown off the scrum as many times as we did, then you can’t win in the Premiership,” reckoned Skivington.

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“Bath battered us there and dominated our scrum, which is unusual for us. We couldn’t live with it and we haven’t shied away from that this week. We had a horrendous scrum game on Friday night but to be reactive to that would be foolish. With my pragmatic hat on, there have been a lot of factors this season in terms of how we are playing our game, but we are not delivering the whole package.

“Sale are real title contenders and a very difficult team to break down. They are second for a reason and have done a great job and their attack is looking good and they have big physical men. They are a difficult team to break down and come hard off the line.

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“We will keep pushing our game on and will not be making it a dogfight with boring rugby just because we are not in a position to compete for the top four. We have to push things on until the end of the season.”

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