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Gloucester v Saints: Teams
At Kingsholm, Saturday September 1, kick-off 3pm
Nigel Davies takes charge of Gloucester for the first time this weekend they kick-off the new Aviva Premier season against Northampton at Kingsholm.
The West Country club have won three of their last four clashes with Northampton, whilst the Saints have been victorious at Kingsholm just once since 2005, a 27-14 success in September 2009.
Gloucester have lost in round one of Aviva Premiership Rugby in three of the past four seasons, including the game at Northampton last season.
Davies is deprived of the services of his skipper Jim Hamilton who rolled an ankle in training this week so fellow lock Alex Brown captains the side.
He leads a side that sees first Premiership starts for Gloucester the likes of Billy Twelvetrees, Dan Robson and Ben Morgan.
Summer signings Huia Edmonds, Sione Kalamafoni and Martyn Thomas are named amongst the replacements.
Davies knows that Northampton will be a tough first opponent although is pleased how his squad has developed during the close season.
"We're as ready as we can be. We've had a good three months at it after lots of change over the summer," he told the club's official website.
"They're a very good side. I went to watch them in Edinburgh last week and they played very well. We're a side who have been together for three months, they're a side that's been together for three years.
"They've had a lot of stability and have evolved their game. They'll provide the sternest of challenges but that's good. We know they're coming and we've prepared for that."
Director of rugby Jim Mallinder knows Kingsholm is a difficult place to secure the points, stating the Saints will need to be at their best.
"Training this summer has been good and we've had some promising pre-season performances, but none of that will count if we don't get a positive result," commented Mallinder.
"Gloucester is always a tough place to visit, and they have played well over the past few weeks. We know that we need to play a lot better, increase our intensity and accuracy and defend well right from the first whistle.
"It's going to be interesting to see how both teams go in the game - Gloucester have new coaches and new ideas, while we've brought in a few players and made a couple of changes."
Gloucester:15 Jonny May, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Matt Cox, 5 Alex Brown (c), 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Dan Murphy, 17 Huia Edmonds, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Will James, 20 Sione Kalamafoni, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 Henry Trinder, 23 Martyn Thomas
Northampton: 15 Ben Foden, 14 Ken Pisi, 13 George Pisi, 12 Dom Waldouck, 11 Vasily Artemyev, 10 Ryan Lamb, 9 Lee Dickinson, 8 GJ Van Zelze, 7 Tom Wood, 6 Phil Dowson, 5 Christian Day, 4 Samu Manoa, 3 Brian Mujati, 2 Dylan Hartley (capt), 1 Soane Tonga'Uiha
Replacements: 16 Mike Haywood, 17 Alex Waller, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Mark Sorenson, 20 Rhys Oakley, 21 Martin Roberts, 22 Stephen Myler, 23 Luther Burrell
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com