Laidlaw returns for Gloucester


Gloucester have named Scotland international Greig Laidlaw on the bench for their European Rugby Challenge Cup semifinal against Top 14 leaders La Rochelle.

Laidlaw hasn’t played since his suffering ligament damage in Scotland’s Six Nations defeat to France on Feb. 12 but will look to make an impact off the bench as Willi Heinz captains the side in one of five changes to the starting the team.

In addition to Heinz coming in at scrum-half, David Halaifonua replaces Charlie Sharples, with Jonny May moving from the left wing to the right to accommodate the Tongan international.

Tom Savage, Jacob Rowan and Ben Morgan all come into the pack as they look to avenge their 42-13 defeat at the hands of La Rochelle last December. They did however beat the French side 35-14 at home earlier in the campaign.

With Top 14 semifinal beckoning for La Rochelle, they will look to the same group of players which has seen them unbeaten at home in the Top 14 this season, while an 11-game unbeaten run came to an end last weekend against Lyon.

La Rochelle:

Kini Murimurivalu; Gabriel Lacroix, Paul Jordaan, Pierre Aguillon, Vincent Rattez; Brock James, Ricky Januarie; Vincent Pelo, Jeremie Maurouard, Uini Atonio (c), Jone Qovu Nailiko, Mathieu Tanguy, Romain Sazy, Botia Veivuke, Kevin Gourdon.

Replacements: Jordan Seneca, Mike Corbel, Mohamed Boughanmi, Leo Cedaro, Damien Lagrange, Arthur Retiere, Alexi Bales, Savenaca Rawaca

Gloucester Rugby: Tom Marshall, Jonny May, Henry Trinder, Mark Atkinson, David Halaifonua; Billy Burns, Willi Heinz (c); Josh Hohneck, Richard Hibbard, John Afoa, Tom Savage, Jeremy Thrush, Ross Moriarty, Jacob Rowan, Ben Morgan

Replacements: Motu Matu’u, Paddy McAllister, Yann Thomas, Mariano Galarza, Lewis Ludlow, Greig Laidlaw, Billy Twelvetrees, Charlie Sharples.