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No rest for Gloucester's Six Nations wingers as both are chosen to face Premiership champions Exeter

By Sam Smith
(Photo by PA)

There is no Gallagher Premiership rest weekend at Gloucester for their Guinness Six Nations wingers as new Wales star Louis Rees-Zammit and England’s Jonny May have both been chosen to start in Friday evening’s 5.30pm kick-off at home to defending champions Exeter. 


With La Rochelle set to visit next week in the Heineken Champions Cup round of 16, Gloucester coach George Skivington has made a dozen changes to the starting XV that was beaten comfortably at Harlequins last weekend.  

Out-half George Barton and front rows Val Rapava-Ruskin and Fraser Balmain are the only three players from The Stoop to keep their places in a revamped Gloucester selection packed with the power of Ed Slater and Ruan Ackermann up front and the potency of the likes of Willi Heinz and Billy Twelvetrees behind the scrum in tandem with Rees-Zammit and May.  

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Exeter’s Jack Nowell guests on RugbyPass Offload with Simon Zebo and Jamie Roberts

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Exeter’s Jack Nowell guests on RugbyPass Offload with Simon Zebo and Jamie Roberts

Gloucester recently broke an eight-game losing streak with wins over Worcester and Wasps and while they have since fallen to Leicester and Quins, out-half Barton is hopeful things can pick-up again versus Exeter. “The team are really excited for it. You can’t really ask for anything more. Friday night lights at Kingsholm against Exeter – it’s what you aspire to do,” he said.

“I can’t wait. It’s an exciting time for the whole team and to be able to get out there and rip into it. Hopefully we can come away with the result.”

While Exeter have also shaken up selection, making eleven changes following their home win over Leicester, none of their Six Nations contingent are involved. Forward Sean Lonsdale and backs Harvey Skinner, Facundo Cordero and Olly Woodburn are their repeat picks from last weekend. 

“Going to Gloucester is always one of my favourite trips of the season,” said Exeter boss Rob Baxter. “You know whenever you go there it’s going to be a challenge. It’s always a tight contest and I’m expecting the same again this week.”


GLOUCESTER: 15. Santiago Carreras; 14. Louis Rees-Zammit, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Jonny May; 10. George Barton, 9. Willi Heinz; 1. Val Rapava-Ruskin, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Fraser Balmain, 4. Ed Slater, 5. Matias Alemanno, 6. Jordy Reid, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Ruan Ackermann. Reps: 16. Santiago Socino, 17. Alex Seville, 18. Jamal Ford-Robinson, 19. Freddie Clarke, 20. Ben Morgan, 21. Jack Clement, 22. Charlie Chapman, 23. Charlie Sharples.

EXETER: 15. Josh Hodge; 14. Olly Woodburn, 13. Dan John, 12. Corey Baldwin, 11. Facundo Cordero; 10. Harvey Skinner, 9. Sam Hidalgo-Clyne; 1. James Kenny, 2. Jack Yeandle (capt), 3. Marcus Street, 4. Sean Lonsdale, 5. Tom Price, 6. Don Armand, 7. Richard Capstick, 8. Rus Tuima. Reps: 16. Elvis Taione, 17. Danny Southworth, 18. Alfie Petch, 19. Will Witty, 20. Charlie Wright, 21. Stu Townsend, 22. Arthur Relton, 23. James Short.


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