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Hastings to face Benetton as Gloucester change 7 from Exeter loss

By Josh Raisey
Adam Hastings of Gloucester Rugby celebrates scoring their team's first try as Dino Lamb of Harlequins after failing to stop him scoring during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Big Game 15 match between Harlequins and Gloucester Rugby at Twickenham Stadium on December 30, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Patrick Khachfe/Getty Images)

Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings has returned to the Gloucester squad to face Benetton on Saturday in the Challenge Cup semi-final at Kingsholm after missing the loss to Exeter Chiefs last week in the Gallagher Premiership.

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The Glasgow Warriors-bound fly-half is one of seven players to return to the Gloucester starting XV after George Skivington opted to rest him last week for the 38-17 loss to the Chiefs at Kingsholm.

Flanker Lewis Ludlow also returns to the starting XV after being on the bench last week, and will retake the captaincy duties from Zach Mercer, who led the side against the Chiefs.

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Ludlow will go toe-to-toe with Benetton and Italy skipper Michele Lamaro in the No7 jersey, who is joined by plenty of his Italy teammates in the team, including the much-vaunted centre partnership of Tommaso Menoncello and Ignacio Brex.

Gloucester will be gunning for their second final of the season with a victory having already won the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Fixture
Challenge Cup
Gloucester
40 - 23
Full-time
Benetton
All Stats and Data

Gloucester XV
15. Josh Hathaway
14. Jonny May
13. Chris Harris
12. Seb Atkinson
11. Ollie Thorley
10. Adam Hastings
9. Caolan Englefiled
1. Mayco Vivas
2. Seb Blake
3. Kirill Gotovtsev
4. Freddie Clarke
5. Freddie Thomas
6. Ruan Ackermann
7. Lewis Ludlow (C)
8. Zach Mercer

Replacements
16. Santi Socino
17. Jamal Ford-Robinson
18. Ciaran Knight
19. Albert Tuisue
20. Jack Clement
21. Stephen Varney
22. Charlie Atkinson
23. Alex Hearle

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Benetton XV
15 Rhyno Smith (51)
14 Ignacio Mendy (23)
13 Tommaso Menoncello (41)
12 Ignacio Brex (80)
11 Onisi Ratave (22)
10 Tomas Albornoz (49)
9 Alessandro Garbisi (44)
1 Thomas Gallo (56)
2 Giacomo Nicotera (40)
3 Simone Ferrari (103)
4 Scott Scrafton (11)
5 Eli Snyman (41)
6 Sebastian Negri (82)
7 Michele Lamaro (C) (66)
8 Toa Halafihi (72)

Replacements
16 Gianmarco Lucchesi (44)
17 Mirco Spagnolo (15)
18 Giosué Zilocchi (15)
19 Niccolò Cannone (72)
20 Edoardo Iachizzi (12)
21 Alessandro Izekor (31)
22 Andy Uren (19 )
23 Leonardo Marin (22)

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f
finn 8 hours ago
Ireland and South Africa share the same player development dilemma

What a difference 9 months makes! Last autumn everyone was talking about how important versatile bench players were to SA’s WC win, now we’re back to only wanting specialists? The timing of this turn is pretty odd when you consider that some of the best players on the pitch in the SA/Ireland match were Osbourne (a centre playing out of position at 15), Feinberg-Mngomezulu (a fly-half/centre playing out of position at 15), and Frawley (a utility back). Having specialists across the backline is great, but its not always necessary. Personally I think Frawley is unlikely to displace Crowley as first choice 10, but his ability to play 12 and 15 means he’s pretty much guaranteed to hold down a spot on the bench, and should get a decent amount of minutes either at the end of games or starting when there are injuries. I think Willemse is in a similar boat. Feinberg-Mngomezulu possibly could become a regular starter at 10 for the Springboks, but he might not, given he’d have to displace Libbok and Pollard. I think its best not to put all your eggs in one basket - Osbourne played so well at the weekend that he will hopefully be trusted with the 15 shirt for the autumn at least, but if things hadn’t gone well for him he could have bided his time until an opportunity opened up at centre. Similarly Feinberg-Mngomezulu is likely to get a few opportunities at 15 in the coming months due to le Roux’s age and Willemse’s injury, but given SA don’t have a single centre aged under 30 its likely that opportunities could also open up at 12 if he keeps playing there for Stormers. None of this will discount him from being given gametime at 10 - in the last RWC cycle Rassie gave a start at 10 to Frans Steyn, and even gave de Klerk minutes there off the bench - but it will give him far more opportunities for first team rugby.

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