Fit-again Cipriani to make Gloucester return

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Cipriani suffered a muscle tear against Exeter and was forced off before half-time
European Rugby Champions Cup
Venue: Kingsholm Date: Friday, 11 January Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Coverage: BBC local radio and live scores on the BBC Sport website

Danny Cipriani is set to return for Gloucester in Friday’s European Champions Cup match against Munster.

Cipriani is named at fly-half having recovered from a chest injury sustained in December’s pool game against Exeter.

In his absence, Gloucester have lost their last two Premiership games.

Munster have included Ireland centre Chris Farrell, who was thought to be carrying a knee injury, as one of six changes to their side with CJ Stander and Conor Murray both returning.

Ollie Thorley returns on the Gloucester left wing while Franco Marais, sidelined since the previous meeting between these two sides, is named among the replacements.

Elsewhere, Henry Walker comes in at hooker, Franco Mostert moves to the blind-side flank from the second row with Ed Slater taking Mostert’s place, and Lewis Ludlow is back at open-side flanker.

With all of the Pool Two teams within four points of each other, Gloucester coach Johan Ackermann says his side need to forget their recent league form.

“Having those losses were disappointing and not good for us,” he said. “But my message to the players was that history can’t be changed and we can only control what’s in front of us.

The situation in Pool two is tight with two games to go

“We’ve learned lessons from the past two weeks and implemented them into our training to try and get better. But we’ve not been sulking about it. Friday’s challenge is massive and, if you go into it with a negative mindset, it’s not going to help.”

Munster coach Johann van Graan has recalled several of his frontline players, who were rested for their Pro14 victory against Connacht last weekend.

Murray and Stander, who both came off the bench in Galway, are joined by Mike Haley, Rory Scannell, Dave Kilcoyne and Stephen Archer.

Peter O’Mahony is named as captain while Farrell keeps his place following a knee scan earlier this week.

Rhys Marshall returns from injury and is named among the replacements with the hooker set to make his first appearance since the sides met in October.

Gloucester: Hudson; Sharples, Twelvetrees, Atkinson, Thorley; Cipriani, Braley; Hohneck, Walker, Balmain; Slater, Grobler; Mostert, Ludlow, Morgan (capt).

Replacements: Marais, Seville, Knight, Clarke, Evans, Vellacott, Williams, Trinder

Munster: Haley; Conway, Farrell, Scannell, Earls; Carbery, Murray; Kilcoyne, Scannell, Archer; Kleyn, Beirne; O’Mahony (capt), O’Donnell, Stander.

Replacements: Marshall, Loughman, Ryan, Holland, Botha, Mathewson, Bleyendaal, Goggin.

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