GLOUCESTER Rugby round off their 2018-19 Heineken Champions Cup campaign away at Castres Olympique on Saturday, with Lewis Ludlow captaining a young side.
The Cherry and Whites make wholesale changes from the team that started against Munster Rugby last weekend, with only Henry Walker, Gerbrandt Grobler, Lewis Ludlow, Ollie Thorley and Tom Hudson retained in the starting line-up.
Despite the changes, head coach Johan Ackermann told the media this week that the fixture is still significant for a number of reasons and a great opportunity for a number of players.
“We talked about selection quite a lot this week. It’s still a match that is representing the jersey and is an honour. But we also need to take a look at guys who have trained well and put a lot of work in since the season started, but haven’t had all the game time they’ve deserved.
“We’ll be looking at some different combinations, seeing what other players can bring and also taking the opportunity to freshen up some players, even if they are named on the bench.
“We are limited in terms of availability and who is registered, but we still feel we have selected a side that can compete. Hopefully the players who get an opportunity this weekend will put up their hand because no-one’s position is guaranteed.
“We don’t know what to expect from the Castres selection, but they will be fired up in front of their home crowd. But we’ve trained well this week and everyone is looking forward to getting out on the pitch and playing and getting some momentum back.”
Gloucester Rugby: 15. Tom Hudson; 14. Matt Banahan, 13. Henry Trinder, 12. Owen Williams, 11. Ollie Thorley; 10. Lloyd Evans, 9. Ben Vellacott; 1. Alex Seville, 2. Henry Walker, 3. Ciaran Knight; 4. Tom Savage, 5. Gerbrandt Grobler; 6. Gareth Evans, 7. Lewis Ludlow (capt), 8. Freddie Clarke
Replacements: 16. Todd Gleave, 17. Paddy McAllister, 18. Josh Hohneck, 19. Ed Slater, 20. Alex Craig, 21. Charlie Chapman, 22. Tom Seabrook, 23. Charlie Sharples