RUGBY UNION - International duo return for Coventry against Gloucester - The Coventry Observer

RUGBY UNION - International duo return for Coventry against Gloucester

INTERNATIONAL back-rowers Matt Kvesic and Paddy Ryan return to Coventry Rugby’s starting line-up for the club’s must-win Premiership Rugby Cup visit to Gloucester this weekend.

Former England flanker Kvesic appeared from the bench during the second half of last week’s draw with Nottingham after sitting out his club’s win at Hartpury seven days earlier.

And recently-capped USA international Ryan sat out last week’s 33-all draw as Coventry head coach Alex Rae rotated his squad.

Elsewhere in the pack, Rae recalls the experience of second row James Tyas and loosehead prop Toby Trinder while Tiki Nayalo moves across the back row to wear his more accustomed no.8 shirt.

There are few surprises behind the scrum where leading try scorer Ryan Hutler is restored to the right wing with the pacy Jimmy Martin named on the opposite flank.

The in-form Will Wand combines with Will Rigg in a powerful midfield while Rae names the same half-back combination for a third consecutive match.

On-loan Sale prop Cal Ford features on a replacements bench where five other forwards include Gloucester old boy Jack Bartlett.

Scrum-half Fin Ogden and centre Lucas Titherington provide cover behind the scrum.

To progress to the February semi-finals, the blue-and-whites know they must claim a bonus point win at Kingsholm while also ensuring their to-date unbeaten hosts remain pointless.

Rae said: “We believe we can get the result required, the great thing about our group is that we have a very positive mindset.

“I’d hate us to be going there thinking we’ll throw it around and give it a good go as that’s just not us.

“We’d rather go there with a steely focus – and if we fall short, we fall short – but you can take it from me that we’re going there to give our all to getting a bonus point win.

“We saw last weekend that Gloucester picked two squads for games against Hartpury and the Barbarians and they both looked pretty strong.

“Whoever we face at Kingsholm will be a really tough game but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it.”

Coventry’s squad to play Gloucester

Starting line-up: James; Hutler; Wand, Rigg, Martin; Mitchell, Chudley; Trinder, Poole, Salt; Tyas, Anstey; Ryan, Kvesic, Nayalo.

Replacements: Ma’asi, Chilvers, Ford, Smith, Ball, Ogden, Titherington, Bartlett

Coventry’s clash with Gloucester takes place on Saturday, October 7 with kick-off at 1pm at Kingsholm.

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