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Steve McColl relishing reunion

By The Citizen  |  Posted: August 15, 2014

By Mike Brown @citizen_rugby

STEVE McColl reckons friendship will go out the window when he faces his former teammates today.

The full back made the switch from Yorkshire Carnegie in the summer and is relishing a reunion as he makes his Cherry and Whites debut.

McColl is one of 11 new faces on display at Kingsholm, with head coach Laurie Fisher selecting a team for each half against the Championship outfit.

McColl, 25, said “It’s definitely a good start for me to play against the boys, you could almost say it’s fate.

“Fortunately enough I’ve not had any messages from them, but we knew before I left that we had each other in pre-season and there was going to be some banter then.

“I’m sure they’ll give me some clips and maybe I’ll come up with a black eye.

“But I want them to do really well in the Championship and they’ve recruited really well. The players there, they’re a good tight group.

“It will be a quick game at the start, it always is in the first game back, and pretty messy as well. Normally teams will try to use all their moves and things they’ve been working on in pre-season.

“But once the game gets going, it could be a fast game. Leeds, when I’ve been there, have always played a fast game, that’s what they’ve relied on and when we bring on some of the speedsters in the second half the game should be really open then.”

Former Carnegie flanker Jacob Rowan also starts the first half, along with fellow recruits Henry Purdy, Tom Isaacs, Mark Atkinson and Aleki Lutui.

McColl will switch to the wing in the second half to accommodate Rob Cook, who made the move from Championship side Cornish Pirates ahead of last season.

He said: “We’ve been well looked after but at the same time we’ve been worked hard. The level and intensity compared with the Championship is a lot higher than what we’re used to.

“The speed of training and the speed we have to make and the weights you have to lift is a lot higher, but me and Jacob have been in a professional environment before and trained every day and in terms of techniques and what’s expected of us, we’re not new to that.

“The support here is fantastic. There’s more equipment here and it’s of great standard - some of it is unbelievable – and it makes us feel as though we can get more out of ourselves as well.

“When I spoke to Gloucester before, they were saying that Cook worked really hard when he came into this environment, so that gave me the edge to think, ‘Right, it’s not just a matter of turning up’. Not that I would think that anyway, but it’s pushed me along.

“He’s been great, Cook, and he’s helped me along with a lot of things. We normally lift together and we’re always egging each other on. It’s great competition.

“He’s definitely got more speed than I have so he’ll probably use the outside break more, whereas I’m more of a line breaker.”

Star half-backs James Hook and Greig Laidlaw will be introduced in the second half, along with Dan Thomas, Tom Palmer and James Voss.

Gloucester will continue their pre-season preparations with clashes against Munster and the Scarlets.

Gloucester first half: S McColl; H Purdy, T Isaacs, M Atkinson, S Monahan; B Burns, D Robson; S Kalamafoni, J Rowan, R Moriarty, J Hudson (c), E Stooke, S Puafisi, A Lutui, Y Thomas.

Second half: R Cook, C Sharples, B Meakes, M Atkinson, S McColl, J Hook, G Laidlaw; R Moriarty, D Thomas, T Savage, T Palmer, J Voss, S Knight, D Dawidiuk, D Murphy.

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