Hopes that Louis Rees-Zammit would use Gloucester’s Gallagher Premiership match on Friday night to press his claims for a first Wales cap have been dashed.
The Welsh are due to face England at Twickenham in the Guinness Six Nations on March 7.
With Josh Adams unavailable through injury and doubts about whether the concussed George North will make it back, Wales boss Wayne Pivac has vacancies to fill at Twickenham as Adams and North started in last weekend’s loss to France.
There has been a clamour for the teenage Rees-Zammit to be promoted into the matchday squad and win his first cap after being overlooked for the opening three rounds of the championship.
However, he will now attempt to gain selection for Twickenham without featuring for Gloucester as he has been excluded from their side to face Sale due to illness.
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The Rugby Pod rounds up all last weekend’s Guinness Six Nations and Gallagher Premiership action
He is one of a number of changes to the team beaten last weekend at London Irish. The changes in the backs see Tom Marshall return at full-back having missed out on last week’s trip due to injury, the ill Rees-Zammit is replaced by Tom Seabrook while scrum-half Callum Braley is back from Six Nations action with Italy.
Up front, Franco Marais has recovered from the injury that ruled him out of the encounter at the Madejski Stadium, while Jake Polledri is also back from Italy duty. Finally, Ben Morgan is back at number eight.
Gloucester boss Johan Ackermann said: “We know what is coming, there is no secret. They are going to come full of confidence. They have got a tremendous team full of internationals and they’ are going to test you because they are physical, a side full of big men.
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“We know that we can’t make the mistakes we did at London Irish, we have to up our game. And we believe we can do that. We have shown it in glimpses and that is the frustrating thing because we know how good we can be.”
Friday’s fixture added significance for Gloucester as the match has been dedicated to shine a light on mental health awareness and promote kindness using the hash tag #BeKind. The club have teamed up with the Samaritans for this purpose.
GLOUCESTER (vs Sale, Friday): 15. Tom Marshall; 14. Tom Seabrook, 13. Billy Twelvetrees, 12. Mark Atkinson, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Danny Cipriani, 9. Callum Braley; 1. Josh Hohneck, 2. Franco Marais, 3. Fraser Balmain; 4. Ed Slater, 5. Franco Mostert (capt); 6. Ruan Ackermann, 7. Jake Polledri, 8. Ben Morgan. Reps: 16. Todd Gleave, 17. Val Rapava Ruskin, 18. Ciaran Knight, 19. Alex Craig, 20. Lewis Ludlow, 21. Charlie Chapman, 22. Lloyd Evans. 23. Matt Banahan.
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