Our overview of Heineken Champions Cup Pool A sides continues with a look at Gloucester Rugby.

Heineken Champions Cup record

Gloucester’s best showing in EPCR’s elite competition was a run to the semi-finals in the 2000-01 season, when they were beaten 19-15 at Leicester Tigers.

They reached the quarter-finals in 2007-08, losing 16-3 to eventual champions Munster Rugby at Kingsholm, while their only knockout stage appearance in the past decade ended in a 27-17 Round of 16 defeat at home to Stade Rochelais in 2020-21.

Last season

Competing in the EPCR Challenge Cup, Gloucester navigated Pool B with three wins out of four before seeing off Northampton Saints 31-21 in the Round of 16 at Kingsholm.

Their EPCR adventure ended in the quarter-finals, however, as they were thrashed 44-15 at home to a strong Saracens side.

Head coach

George Skivington took over at Gloucester in the summer of 2020, having worked as a forwards coach at London Irish for four years, as well as enjoying a spell coaching the Samoan national team.

A lock during his playing days, Skivington featured regularly for Wasps, Leicester Tigers and London Irish, racking up 44 appearances in EPCR competitions and scoring four tries.

Key players

Hooker Santiago Socino was the leading try-scorer in last season’s EPCR Challenge Cup, while his Argentina teammate, Matías Alemanno, is an important figure in the second row.

Captain Lewis Ludlow is a committed, all-action flanker and Gloucester’s back row been reinforced this season by Albert Tuisue, with the powerful Fijian No.8 having signed from London Irish.

Wales’ Louis Rees-Zammit and England’s Jonny May are both lightning-quick wingers, with Scotland’s Chris Harris a reliable option at centre. Full-back Santiago Carreras is another Argentinian talent.

Pool fixtures

Gloucester host Union Bordeaux-Bègles in their opening Pool A match on December 10, before travelling to last season’s finalists, Leinster Rugby, on December 16. They then welcome the Irish province on January 14 before rounding off their pool stage with a trip to Bordeaux on January 21.