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Cowan set for Gloucester debut

New Zealand international Jimmy Cowan will make his first start for Gloucester in Thursday night's Amlin Challenge Cup clash against Bordeaux-Begles at Kingsholm.

The former All Blacks scrum-half replaces Dave Lewis as one of eight changes following last week's 11-6 victory over Mont-de-Marsan.

James Simpson-Daniel and Billy Twelvetrees return to the back division, with switches up-front including starts for hooker Huia Edmonds, lock Jim Hamilton and number eight Ben Morgan.

Akapusi Qera, meanwhile, replaces former England flanker Andy Hazell, who was sent off against Mont-de-Marsan and faces a disciplinary hearing next week.

"Conditions had a big say in what we were able to do out in Mont-de-Marsan on the night, and we probably had to play a little bit within ourselves to get that result," Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies said.

"Now, we've just got to concentrate on building our game and getting good at our game. When that comes, we will play very well and start getting bonus points. Bonus points are important, but we can't think too far ahead. We have to win first."

Bordeaux were crushed 43-16 at home by Pool One opponents London Irish last weekend, but Davies added: "They will probably be a bit disappointed with the way they went against Irish, and we will expect a bit of a backlash from them. We've selected quite a different XV, a team we think can do a job for us, and it's really about us performing and moving forward."

Bath, fresh from scoring 40 points in Bucharest last weekend, are on the road again on Thursday when they tackle Pool Four rivals Agen.

South African Francois Louw returns to captain the west country club, making only his second appearance of the season due to international commitments, as head coach Gary Gold makes 10 changes.

Elsewhere, lock Dominic Day takes over from an injured Will Spencer, while several Test players return, including fly-half Stephen Donald, prop Paul James and hooker Lee Mears.


From Belfast Telegraph