Gloucester ready for defence
October 13, 2011
Luke Narraway leads Gloucester in celebrating their Anglo-Welsh Cup triumph last season © Getty Images
Former Sale legend Bryan Redpath has warned his old club to expect no favours as Gloucester prepare to begin the defence of their LV= Cup crown at Kingsholm on Saturday.
The Sharks will travel down to the West Country looking to make it two wins in a week over Redpath's Gloucester, having pipped the Cherry and Whites 13-11 at Edgeley Park in the league last Saturday. With the unique setup of the LV= Cup, Sale find themselves in Pool 2 with Leicester, London Irish and Cardiff Blues but will instead battle it out with the teams from Pool 4, including Gloucester, with the top side from each group then making the semi-finals.
Sale will welcome back a whole host of players from the World Cup, with Tony Buckley and Richie Vernon among the returning Sharks. But it is Redpath's compatriot Alasdair Dickinson, who the Scot is particularly wary of having spent the last four years coaching him down at Kingsholm.
"Alasdair Dickinson was back for them last week and got a bit of time off the bench," said Redpath, who played 80 times for Sale and amassed more than 30 points for the Stockport-based club. "He's a player we know very well - we know what he's capable of.
"With it being a home game last week for Sale, I think it was an easier way to come back into it, and I'm sure he'll be desperate to get back playing regularly for them. He moved on from Gloucester to play some rugby because he felt his opportunities were limited here.
"And Nick Wood has been fantastic for us again this year, but I'm sure Dicko will be desperate to come back here and try to do one over on us - he's a very talented individual. He got one over last weekend so hopefully it won't be 2-0 or I won't be too chirpy."
With several players expected to make their first appearances of the season for the Cherry and Whites after returning from the World Cup, former Scotland scrum-half Redpath insists it will be a transformed team which awaits Sale to kick off the competition.
"I had my views at half-time and at the end of the game last week against Sale. I don't think we showed a real account of ourselves at all," said the Gloucester head coach. "Sale for me will always bring fond memories for us because it's my old club so it was great to see a few guys again, but I was gutted that we didn't perform.
"But it's a new competition for both us and Sale and the key thing is we have five guys coming back from the World Cup [Scott Lawson, Jim Hamilton, Alasdair Strokosch, Rory Lawson and Akapusi Qera] who should all be involved so hopefully the guys coming back in can add a little bit more to us.
"We want to use this weekend as a chance to play with a little less pressure. It's really important to get our game right again but Sale are not an easy side to play against and we know we'll need to be at our best."
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