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Gloucester preview 2012/13

Gloucester have a fresh belief that they can mount a serious challenge on the top-four places.

Davies aiming to transform fortunes at Kingsholm

After a season that offered so much but delivered so little, Gloucester will be keen to establish themselves as serious contenders. Having won the LV= Cup in 2011, hopes were high that the club could kick-on - however the club's challenge petered out to nothing, with Bryan Redpath exiting before the end of the season. The appointment of Nigel Davies as director of rugby, though, and a host of new signings means that the Shed faithful will have fresh belief for the coming campaign. Davies has made the move to Kingsholm after turning around the fortunes of the Scarlets - with the former Wales international having also brought on some of the country's rising stars. Joining Davies in moving from Wales will be England No.8 Ben Morgan and highly-rated full-back Martyn Thomas, while a lot will be expected from Billy Twelvetrees, who switches from Leicester. However the arrivals of Australia hooker Huia Edmonds and New Zealand No.9 Jimmy Cowan could be key in turning Gloucester from also-rans into play-off contenders. They will team up with the exciting talents of Freddie Burns, Jonny May, Dan Robson and Henry Trinder, while player-coach Mike Tindall, Charlie Sharples, James Simpson-Daniels, Nick Wood and Andy Hazell will have big roles to play. There has been some notable departures, though, with Scott Lawson, Alasdair Strokosch, Luke Narraway and Rory Lawson all heading to pastures new.

Gloucester stats

Director of rugby: Nigel Davies
Captain: Jim Hamilton
Sky Bet odds: 14/1
Last season: 9th
In: Huia Edmonds (Brumbies), Sione Kalamafoni (Nottingham), Ben Morgan (Scarlets), Jimmy Cowan (Highlanders), Drew Locke (Cornish Pirates), Billy Twelvetrees (Leicester), Shane Monahan (Rotherham), Martyn Thomas (Dragons), Rob Cook (Cornish Pirates)
Out: Matías Cortese (Colomiers), Scott Lawson (London Irish), Alasdair Strokosch (Perpignan), Luke Narraway (Perpignan), Brett Deacon (Leicester), Rory Lawson (Newcastle), Nick Runciman (London Welsh), Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu (Coca Cola West Red Sparks), Ollie Phillips (released), Tom Voyce (released)
Key man - Jimmy Cowan: The All Blacks No.9 has a wealth of international and Super Rugby experience and Gloucester will be looking to him to help release their exciting back division.
Prediction: 7th

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