The European Challenge Rugby Cup Final 2015 will be played at the Twickenham Stoop. At the time of writing, teams for this final – Edinburgh and Gloucester haven’t named their squads for this weekend’s final.
The competition has been interesting, with both teams scoring well in competition statistics:
The Cherry & Whites have had the most carries (908) and have tied with Edinburgh for most rucks won and penalty tries – 633 and three respectively. Edinburgh have won 96 lineouts, the highest count in the competition. Meanwhile, Gloucester have the highest number of rucks lost (35), a part of Gloucester’s game that Edinburgh will surely target.
The road to the final has been thus: Gloucester beat Connacht 14-7 and Exeter Chiefs 30-19, whilst Edinburgh beat London Irish and Newport Gwent Dragons 23-18 and 45-16 respectively.
Having played two season with Gloucester, Edinburgh’s Alasdair Dickinson knows all about the Cherry & Whites, but is insistent that Edinburgh are in a good place and ready to give Gloucester a hard game. He says: “We know what lies ahead of us, it’s a massive test, obviously Gloucester are on form as well so it’s going to be a challenge. I think from what the season’s been like, I don’t think anybody really expected us to get here at the start of the year. It’s a huge game.”
Gloucester have had an indifferent season; With David Humphreys in charge, Gloucester have struggled for consistency, currently sitting ninth in the Premiership with seven wins from 19 matches. Jonny May said “It means everything. It means we’ve got something to play for. It will be something great for the city, not just for this season but it marks a point in history and will be something to be remembered forever.” May went on to tell BBC Points West “we’re not too down on ourselves. We know we’re a team that’s moving in the right direction and still learning and improving.”
Edinburgh are currently 9th in the Pro12 League, having won 10, drawn 1 and lost 9 matches. Gloucester are also in 9th position in the English Premiership. Their record of eight wins,1 draw and 11 matches lost would seem to place them as the underdogs for this final. I’m not so sure of that. One thing I know, is that Gloucester RFC will travel to the Twickenham Stoop full of pride and determined to sow their loyal fans that they can win something in what has been somewhat of a lacklustre season so far. Edinburgh, on the other hand, are flying high and ready to show an English Premier side just what a Pro12 team feels like, up close and personal.
The gloves are off; the licking tees are polished and it’s all to play for. It should be a great match up on Friday night – make sure you watch it!