2:13pm Friday 10th January 2014
By SNJ Sport
Irish winger Shane Monahan will make his first Heineken Cup start of the season as Gloucester Rugby prepare for the visit of Munster Rugby to Kingsholm on Saturday evening (kick-off 6pm).
Monahan's return is one of a number of changes that Director of Rugby Nigel Davies makes to the side that started against Saracens last weekend.
In the back line, Jonny May moves from the left wing in to outside centre and Dan Robson gets the nod at scrum half.
Meanwhile, in the pack, Yann Thomas and Darren Dawidiuk are selected at loose head and hooker respectively while Gareth Evans, will start at number eight.
Evans replaces Ben Morgan who has battled to overcome a knock picked up against Saracens, and who will line up amongst the replacements. Also back in the matchday squad for the first time in several weeks is Tongan international Sione Kalamafoni, back after injury.
After two wins in the Aviva Premiership, Gloucester slipped to defeat at home to Saracens last week, which was a setback according to Davies.
"It was disappointing, because even though we're nowhere near where we need to be, we've been competitive in matches in the majority of cases.
"So, we've worked through that, and the players have acknowledged that they didn't put in the performance that the shirt and the supporters deserve. We've got a lot to do this week to make sure that everybody sees that the shirt, the venue, the supporters mean everything to this group of players.”
Munster currently lead pool six by five points from second placed Gloucester. So, a Munster win will all but clinch top spot.
However, a win for the Cherry and Whites would keep things very much alive.
"At the end of this weekend, we'll all have a clear idea of what we need to do. We're still in with a chance, we need to win obviously and that's a priority. But our main priority is to make sure that we turn up and put in a performance.
"More than anything else, it's about staying tight as a group. We're the only ones who can put things right. I've been pleased with the way the boys have reacted this week. They've been open and honest and driven themselves hard.”
Gloucester: Martyn Thomas; Charlie Sharples, Jonny May, Billy Twelvetrees (capt), Shane Monahan; Freddie Burns, Dan Robson; Yann Thomas, Darren Dawidiuk, Sila Puafisi; Elliott Stooke, James Hudson; Matt Cox, Matt Kvesic, Gareth Evans.
Replacements: Huia Edmonds, Dan Murphy, Shaun Knight, Tom Hicks, Sione Kalamafoni, Tavis Knoyle, Rob Cook, Ben Morgan
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