The fortunes of Gloucester have changed a lot in the past week. The Cherry and Whites went from rock bottom of Pool Five in the Champions Cup to second following their bonus-point victory over Connacht at Kingsholm last Sunday.
Having lost to both Toulouse and Montpellier in the opening two rounds of the tournament, Johan Ackermann’s side looked all but out, but the impressive win, combined with Montpellier losing to Toulouse, means there is a glimmer of hope.
The west country outfit travel to Galway on Saturday knowing a win is a must if they are going to hold onto any hope of making a remarkable resurgence in their pool.
That is why some of the omissions in the starting XV have perplexed Gloucester fans.
Ackermann has lost the plot ???? very disappointing team selection after the win last week, could’ve won this week and then the momentum of winning would have been built ready for the return of premiership action
— iamstevendix (@stevendix2000) December 13, 2019
While there may be long term benefits of letting some players have exposure to such a crucial game, the goal of winning in the immediate present may be compromised. This is a team that still has some high-class and first-choice players, but very few would argue that the players on the bench are not starters.
Disappointed with the side again…we traveled to Montpellier and now to Galway…are we not taking this seriously?
— Sarah Smith (@goonersmiths) December 13, 2019
The view amongst fans after last week’s victory is that Gloucester are very much back in the hunt, but questions have now been raised as to whether Ackermann has already turned his attentions to the Gallagher Premiership. The Sportsground is not an easy place to travel to, as Montpellier can attest to, and they may be making things hard for themselves.
I thought another 5 pointer and we had a chance to get out of the group but I must be wrong as this isn't a must get 5 point selection
— malcolm vickery (@caldiglaws) December 13, 2019
A win in Ireland, alongside a win for Toulouse in Montpellier, would put Gloucester in a very good position to come second in their pool and perhaps qualify for the quarter-finals as one of the best runners-up. A loss would make that highly unlikely.
15. Matt Banahan; 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Todd Gleave, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Alex Craig, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Freddie Clarke, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Ruan Ackermann
Unavailable for selection:
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