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Gallagher Premiership
May 18, 2024 at 3.05pm UK
Newcastle Falcons
GloucesterGloucester Rugby
NewcastleNewcastle Falcons
Mercer (10'), Harris (18'), Atkinson (20'), Thorley (31'), Blake (41'), May (48'), Hearle (73'), Hathaway (80')
Blamire (23'), Moroni (37')

Preview: Gloucester Rugby vs. Newcastle Falcons - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash between Gloucester Rugby and Newcastle Falcons, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Bottom clubs Gloucester Rugby and Newcastle Falcons will clash in their final match of the 2023-24 Gallagher Premiership season at Kingsholm on Saturday afternoon.

While the race for the playoff places is still wide open, these two sides will not feature in the knockout stages, with the hosts currently second-last while the visitors are yet to win a match in the competition.

Match preview

Gloucester Rugby players celebrate beating Exeter Chiefs on February 15, 2019© Reuters

Gloucester and Northampton locked horns in the penultimate round of the 2023-24 Gallagher Premiership regular season, and in an unrelenting onslaught of attack, the Saints proved relentless, demolishing the Cherry and Whites with an astonishing 14-try onslaught to record a massive 90-0 victory.

With 12 minutes to go, Gloucester had a penalty to avoid a 'nilling' in front of the posts, but on a day where nothing was going their way, fly-half Charlie Atkinson shanked his effort, much to the enjoyment of the home fans.

Indeed, Gloucester have been far off the pace in this competition this season, but despite their ninth-placed position domestically, they still have an opportunity for silverware and potential qualification to the Champions Cup when they take on the Sharks in their upcoming Challenge Cup final.

While George Skivington's decision to prioritise the Challenge Cup final is understandable, the fact that the Saints match was two weeks away from the final has left fans frustrated. Their anger stems from the head coach's choice to send a team of younger players to the slaughter, which not only dashed their confidence but also raised concerns about the potential long-term impact on their careers following such a beating.

The final spot in the Champions Cup now hinges on the outcome of the Challenge Cup final. If Gloucester emerges victorious against the Sharks, they will claim the spot, but if they fail to do so, the Tigers will secure the Champions Cup berth due to their eighth-placed finish in this competition.

Newcastle Falcons' George McGuigan in action with Harlequins' George Head on September 10, 2022© Reuters

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons' dismal losing streak was extended in their 28-17 defeat against Bath Rugby at Kingston Park last week. Steve Diamond's men are now stranded on five points, trailing second-bottom Gloucester by a whopping 22 points.

Newcastle did their absolute best to stage a comeback in the second half but only managed to score through scrum-half Sam Stuart as Bath stood firm and saw the match out to secure all five points.

Therefore, the final round of action offers little more than pride to play for, as Newcastle Falcons' position at the bottom of the 2023-24 Gallagher Premiership is already guaranteed, regardless of the outcome of this match.

Newcastle are without a win since March last year and only twice in the history of the Premiership has a side gone through an entire league season without a single victory. Another loss at Gloucester on Saturday in the battle of the bottom two will see the Falcons gain unwanted membership to that club.

However, considering the path chosen by Gloucester and their likelihood to field another second-string side here, the Falcons will likely have a very good chance of avoiding that unwanted record.

Gloucester Rugby Gallagher Premiership form:

  • W
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Newcastle Falcons Gallagher Premiership form:

  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Gloucester Rugby confirmed earlier in the week that Jonny May will be making his final appearance for the team this week as he is set to leave the club at the end of the current season.

With all focus firmly on the Challenge Cup final against the Sharks in a week, expect Skivington to send out another fresh-faced lot in this match, similar to the side we saw trounced by the Saints last week.

Following a dismal 2023-24 campaign, Newcastle Falcons are preparing for a major overhaul in the off-season, with as many as 15 players set to leave Kingston Park at the end of the season.

The players set to depart are Josh Barton, Phil Brantingham, Sam Clark, Sam Cross, Mark Dormer, Rory Jennings, Louie Johnson, Charlie Maddison, Matias Moroni, Guy Pepper, Vereimi Qorowale, Iwan Stephens, Josh Thomas, Michael van Vuuren and George Wacokecoke.

With no major injury concerns, the Falcons are likely to send out a similar squad to the one we saw in their loss to Bath last week.

Gloucester Rugby predicted starting lineup: 15 Josh Hathaway, 14 Alex Hearle, 13 Louis Hillman-Cooper, 12 Jack Reeves, 11 Jake Morris, 10 Charlie Atkinson, 9 Stephen Varney, 8 Jack Clement, 7 Lewis Ludlow (c), 6 Albert Tuisue, 5 Freddie Thomas, 4 Arthur Clark, 3 Ciaran Knight, 2 Santi Socino, 1 Harry Elrington

Replacements: 16 Sam Scarfe, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Danny Eite, 20 Rob Nixon, 21 Charlie Chapman, 22 Morgan Adderly-Jones, 23 Ioan Jones

Newcastle Falcons starting lineup: 15 Louis Brown, 14 Adam Radwan, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Cameron Hutchison, 11 Ben Redshaw, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Sam Stuart, 8 Callum Chick (c), 7 Guy Pepper, 6 Sam Cross, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Tim Cardall, 3 Eduardo Bello, 2 Jamie Blamire, 1 Adam Brocklebank

Replacements: 16 Bryan Byrne, 17 Mark Dormer, 18 Richard Palframan, 19 John Hawkins, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 James Elliott, 22 Rory Jennings, 23 Oli Spencer

SM words green background

We say: Gloucester Rugby 15-18 Newcastle Falcons

While Newcastle have failed to win a single game this season, they cannot be ruled out here with Gloucester clearly focused on the Challenge Cup final against the Sharks next week. The hosts are the clear favourites but we feel the lowly Falcons could spring a surprise to avoid a winless campaign.

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