Premiership Lowdown: Gloucester Rugby

Fact-File:

Last season: 9th

Home ground: Kingsholm (73 miles)

Odds: 66/1

Erratic Gloucester:

Gloucester’s season was perhaps best summed up by their first game back in September 2016. Having roared into a 31-7 lead, the cherry-and-whites collapsed as Leicester completed an impressive comeback to win.

It did not get much better in the Premiership for rugby’s perennial underachievers as they went on to lose six games at their traditionally impenetrable home ground.

It was a remarkable season in so many disappointing ways as Gloucester lost a head coach, were denied the investment of one of the most successful businessmen in the world and suffered dreadful defeats.

But there is hope for David Humphreys and incoming head coach Johan Ackerman with the run to the European Challenge Cup final a rare highlight alongside impressive wins against Wasps and Saracens.

The cherry-and-whites’ summer business also looks bright with the arrivals of Owen Williams from Leicester and Bristol’s best player in Jason Woodward filling key gaps in the side.

But it’s not all good news as talismanic captain Greig Laidlaw makes a big money move to France and fly-half James Hook returns to Ospreys.

Gloucester’s fans will be hoping they can finally come to fruition but the fact they did not win a game against the teams who finished fourth to eighth suggests Ackerman has major work to do at his new home.

Ins and Outs:

In:

Fraser Balmain (Leicester Tigers), Val Rapava-Ruskin (Worcester Warriors), Owen Williams (Leicester Tigers), Ben Vellacott (promoted from Academy), Jake Polledri (Hartpury RFC), Gareth Denman (Northampton Saints), Jason Woodward (Bristol), Freddie Clarke (promoted from Academy), Lloyd Evans (promoted from Academy)

Outs:

Greig Laidlaw (Clermont Auvergne), James Hook (Ospreys), Matt Kvesic (Exeter Chiefs), Joe Batley (Bristol), Joe Latta (Bristol), Josh McNulty (Harlequins), Salesi Ma’afu (RC Narbonne), Matt Protheroe (Bristol), Dan Thomas (Bristol), Tom Lindsay (Bedford Blues), Sione Kalamafoni (Leicester Tigers), Yann Thomas (Rouen), Paul Doran-Jones (Wasps), Darren Dawidiuk (released)

Last season v Wasps:

Premiership Round 8: Gloucester 36-18 Wasps

Premiership Round 16: Wasps 35-22 Gloucester

Dates for the diary:

Wasps v Gloucester: December 23 2017; kick-off to be confirmed

Gloucester v Wasps: February 23/24/25 2018; kick-off to be confirmed

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