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Will Carpenter


Posted Thursday, September 13th 2018

Preview: Gloucester vs Bristol Bears

Bristol Bears travel to Kingsholm on Friday night (7:45pm) for a second West Country derby of the Gallagher Premiership season.

Pat Lam's side were beaten 44-23 by Saracens at Allianz Park last Saturday, after George Smith's red card - which was later dismissed - and a 25-minute hat-trick from Liam Williams saw the reigning champions fight back from a 18-13 half-time deficit. 

Gloucester head into the game off the back of a win and a draw from their opening two Gallagher Premiership fixtures, beating Northampton Saints 27-16 at Kingsholm, before being held to a 31-31 stalemate at The Rec last Saturday. 

Here's your big match preview ahead of tomorrow:

Last time out:

Bristol Rugby 14-32 Gloucester - Sat, 24th March 2017 - Ashton Gate

Bristol's hopes of Premiership survival were dealt a hefty blow as they fell to a 14-32 defeat at the hands of Gloucester at Ashton Gate.

Nine points from the boot of Billy Searle and a Max Crumpton try were all Bristol had to show for their evening's work, as Gloucester secured a bonus-point win and in the process, retained the Rifles Cup. 

Tries from Charlie Sharples, Billy Burns, Lewis Ludlow and Jonny May sealed victory for the visitors, while Burns also added 12 points from the kicking tee. 


Ian Madigan

Irish international, Ian Madigan was the GKIPA Championship's leading marksman in 2017/18, scoring a mammoth 235 points for Pat Lam's side as they romped to the title.

Madigan kicked four penalties in his side's opening day victory over Bath, and his match-up with Cipriani promises to be a mouthwatering one. 

Danny Cipriani

Two eye-catching assists - for Charlie Sharples and Matt Banahan - during Danny Cipriani's opening two Gallagher Premiership appearances are a sure-fire sign that the England fly-half heads into this game in scintillating form. 

Cipriani made his return to the England setup during the summer tour of South Africa and looks set to feature again during the Autumn internationals. 

Shaun Malton

The former Exeter Chiefs hooker is set for his first league start for Bristol Bears at Kingsholm, after two impressive displays off the bench against Bath and Saracens.

Malton made fourteen outings during Exeter's title-winning season, scoring three tries, and will be looking to bring his vast experience to the table on Friday night, as he goes head-to-head with Gllocuester's new arrival, Franco Marais.

Franco Marais

The South African hooker makes his first start for the Cherry and Whites following a summer switch from Super Rugby side, the Sharks.

The 25-year-old has represented his country at Under 20 and ‘A’ team level and has made 42 Super Rugby appearances.

Gloucester director of rugby, David Humphreys highlighted Marais’ work at the set-piece after confirming his signing in March.

Word from the camps:

Pat Lam

"A real focus this week has been to make sure that our execution is spot on, make sure that we are running the right lines, running the right systems in attack and defence. It’s been proven that, every time we’ve done that, we put the other team under pressure and we get points."

Johan Ackermann

“We’re facing a highly motivated team, with a lot of x-factor. They’ve shown already how good they are. This week there will be a few late fitness tests, we’ll wait for a few guys but it helps if you can get that consistency in the team as well.
“We’re going to be tested in our depth - we’ve got a few niggles and stuff - and how to manage the players."

Form guide:

With a win and a defeat from their opening two Gallagher Premiership fixtures, Bristol Bears head into the game off the back of a rousing performance against reigning champions, Saracens at Allianz Park on Saturday. Pat Lam's side went blow for blow with Saracens until George Smith's red card - later overturned by the RFU - and a quick-fire hat-trick from Liam Williams.

Danny Cipriani has been the man of the moment for Johan Ackermann's Gloucester, with two sensational assists catching the eye in the opening rounds. An opening day victory over Northampton was followed by a 31-31 draw against Bath at The Rec last week, leaving the Cherry and Whites unbeaten. 

Bristol though, have not beaten Gloucester for ten years, since February 2008. Last time out in the top flight, Gloucester ran out 26-18 winners at Kingsholm before cruising to a 32-14 victory in the return fixture at Ashton Gate.

Bristol Bears: LWL
Gloucester: WWD

Weather forecast:

Met Office says: After a chilly start there will be plenty of sunshine through the day. A few isolated showers are possible, but for many it will stay dry. Maximum temperature 18 °C.

How to buy tickets:

Tickets are available from the official Gloucester Rugby website, purchase online now by clicking here.