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Stooke leads the Gloucester young guns ready to prove their worth at Northampton

By Nick_Purewal  |  Posted: January 25, 2013

Comments (12)

PHYSICAL young lock Elliott Stooke will lead the charge of talented youngsters primed to prove their frontline Gloucester promise, believes Carl Hogg.

Gloucester assistant coach Hogg has backed second-row Stooke and a clutch of other Kingsholm youngsters to set a high standard for exciting careers ahead at Northampton tomorrow.

The Cherry and Whites take on the Saints at Franklin’s Gardens (kick-off 3pm) in their penultimate LV=Cup group match.

Gloucester must see off Northampton and then defeat Bath at Kingsholm a week later to stand any chance of semi-final qualification.

Gloucester’s coaches have mixed up the side, handing a host of young talent the chance to shine in the East Midlands.

Evergreen flanker Andy Hazell returns after his 14-week ban, with Pete Buxton skippering the side from blindside.

New second-row recruit Lua Lokotui starts alongside 19-year-old Stooke in the engine room, with Jim Hamilton on Scotland duty and Will James suffering rib trouble.

Gloucester forwards coach Hogg said Evesham-raised Stooke typifies the young, talented and determined Cherry and Whites stars on show tomorrow – all of whom he believes can carve out long-term Kingsholm careers.

Hogg explained: “This is where these guys get their chance.

“It’s their opportunity to show what they can do.

“Elliott is a big, physical lad with a lot going for him and a lot ahead of him.

“He showed up well out in France and he is progressing extremely well in our Academy system.

“This is exactly the kind of game for developing players like him.

“They need to play – but they also need to play in testing situations, and that’s what this competition is all about.

“It will be exciting to see Elliott pair up with Lua, and that mixture of youth and experience should be a good blend.

“Guys like Elliott, they can handle all of this – but it is in games like this when they have the chance to prove it.”

Hartpury College wing Steph Reynolds has a chance to show his searing pace on the wing, while fit-again Ryan Mills will taste his first rugby for 218 days after summer knee surgery.

Martyn Thomas has a chance to impress at full-back, while up front props Yann Thomas and Thomas Heard have an opportunity to show their worth.

Northampton have named a strong line-up, with ex-Gloucester favourite Ryan Lamb leading the backline from fly-half.

Ben Foden and George Pisi will be the Saints’ most dangerous options behind the scrum, while Sanu Manoa and captain Phil Dowson will be threatening in the back-row.

NORTHAMPTON: Ben Foden, James Wilson, George Pisi, Luther Burrell, Tom May, Ryan Lamb, Martin Roberts, Alex Waller, Mike Haywood, Tom Mercey, Mark Sorenson, Christian Day, Samu Manoa, Phil Dowson (capt), Rhys Oakley. Replacements: Ross McMillan, Soane Tonga’uiha, Ethan Waller, James Craig, Ben Nutley, Lee Dickson, Stephen Myler, Tom Collins.

GLOUCESTER: Martyn Thomas, Steph Reynolds, Henry Trinder, Tim Molenaar, Shane Monahan, Ryan Mills, Dave Lewis, Yann Thomas, Koree Britton, Dario Chistolini, Lua Lokotui, Elliott Stooke, Pete Buxton (capt), Andy Hazell, Gareth Evans. Replacements: Tommaso d’Apice, Dan Murphy, Tom Heard, Tom Savage, Ross Moriarty, Jimmy Cowan, Mike Tindall, Rob Cook.

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  • Newilldon  |  January 25 2013, 9:26PM

    Harden is the number 1 tight head at Gloucester Rugby. If the troll Kap721/flanker_6 ever gets to a Gloucester Rugby game he could see that for himself but he never goes to any games.

    |   6
  • Steve_Bronko  |  January 25 2013, 9:16PM

    The troll Kap721 with his multitude of identities simply can not get over the fact that Rupert Harden is the best tight head at Gloucester. But who cares what the troll Kap721 thinks? Nigel Davies has an infinitely superior rugby brain to the troll Kap721 (though the troll Kap721 will, hilariously, claim differently) and ND has made Harden his number 1 tight head.

    |   5
  • sam_silent  |  January 25 2013, 8:57PM

    We need Harden back for the the Premiership game against Saints, otherwise the scrum will be underpowered yet again.

    |   6
  • Hinchcliffe33  |  January 25 2013, 8:52PM

    Without an once of a doubt, Rupert Harden, our first choice tight head, is the best number 3 at Gloucester Rugby.

    |   6
  • BillBM  |  January 25 2013, 8:46PM

    The fact is, Nigel Davies, our astute and knowledgeable DoR at Gloucester Rugby has made Harden his first choice tight-head, selecting Harden to start 9 Premiership games in the first half of the season. Says it all, really.

    |   6
  • CrunchMan  |  January 25 2013, 8:38PM

    Rupert Harden owns the tight head spot.

    |   5
  • Dave_Baldwin  |  January 25 2013, 8:28PM

    Rupert Harden has 9 starts in the first half of the premiership for Gloucester this season, plus another two. That makes him the top rated tight head at Gloucester in anyone's books (except for the sad troll absolam/akadau/graybaggs/Kap721 who is pretty clueless about everything, really).

    |   8
  • Brasher  |  January 25 2013, 8:10PM

    Rupert Harden is an utterly brilliant tight head and Nigel Davies knows it, hence 9 Premiership starts before his injury.

    |   7
  • CurtDowne  |  January 25 2013, 7:48PM

    Here's hoping that Rupert Harden has recovered from his injury and will be fit and raring to go against Saints in the Premiership. We all know that he is the DoR's first choice and the DoR knows what he is talking about.

    |   7
  • fuddlebagley  |  January 25 2013, 7:26PM

    I don't know who the Gloucester Rugby and Rupert Harden hating troll kap721 is trying to kid, we all know that he has still been spouting forth his Harden hating vitriol nuder his other user names. The fact remains that Rupert Harden is Gloucester Rugby's number one tight head.

    |   7