Gloucester bow out of the Premiership Rugby Cup but the Gallagher Premiership is looming

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Gloucester have had four consecutive losses in the Premiership Rugby Cup against London Irish, Bristol Bears, Harlequins and finally Bath in a local derby at Kingsholm last Friday night; leaving them out of the competition that they used as pre-season games. 

The AJ Bell stadium awaits them this Saturday as they face Sale Sharks in the first round of the Gallagher Premiership. 

Head coach Johan Ackermann has reiterated throughout the competition that he was using the Premiership Rugby Cup as a set of pre-season games and somewhere he can start to integrate the academy into the senior squad. 

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Throughout his time at Gloucester, Ackermann has been known to select players on form over age, something that urges those younger players to push for a starting place in the senior squad. 

“For me, age is irrelevant. If a guy is 34 and is the best, then I will pick him but if he’s 18,19 and the best and doing the job then I will pick him.

These academy players really have a shot at it if they play well and put the pressure on the players.”

Friday night’s game against Bath was the most unusual of games that Gloucester have played. The Cherry and Whites lead 24-12 at half time, after both an attacking and defending masterclass before losing 24-26.

There was a shift in momentum and dominance in the second half and Bath’s set piece controlled large periods of game. 

It is clear that the coaching team aren’t concerned about the current form of the club and are confident ahead of the new domestic season this weekend, however some fans are raising concerns about how the cup competition has played out. 

Academy forwards coach, Trevor Woodman was confident in his head coach’s ability follow their Friday night loss.

“Johan has proven that last year with his selection, he likes to give players opportunity, especially young players the opportunity to play and at the same time if he has the opportunity to rest players a week before the game then he will, last year it worked very well.”  

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Gloucester travel to Sale this weekend for their first fixture in the new season. Sale, like Gloucester have a handful of players away on international duty in Japan with both sides unable to field their ‘usual’ starting team. 

Sale however, are coming off the back of four consecutive wins from the Premiership Rugby Cup as they progress to the knock out stages, something that Gloucester will be fully aware of. 

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