European Challenge Cup: Zebre v Gloucester Preview

Zebre and Gloucester will battle it out in a crucial European Rugby Challange Cup clash at the Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi on Saturday the 9th of November.

Round 3 of this season's Challenge Cup sees Zebre host Gloucester, with the hosts bidding to claim thier first win in the competition this season. The Italians currently occupy the bottom of Pool 3, while Johan Ackermann's Gloucester sit three-points behind Pau in second.

Zebre v Gloucester | Saturday 9 December | Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi | 15:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Zebre 3/1 | Draw 25/1 | Gloucester 3/10

*Please note that these are forecast odds 


Michael Bradley's side have shown encouraging signs this season both domestically and in Europe. Last week's impressive 24-10 home win over Connacht in the Pro14 was one of them, while September's shock 27-23 victory over Ulster was a good result by any side's standards. Zebre will hope for another huge scalp when Gloucester visit on Saturday, but common sense does suggest otherwise.

If the Italians are to claim a win, they will need to nullify the likes of Gloucester's big ball-carriers in the forms of Ruan Ackermann and Jeremy Thrush, as well as the ever-present Billy Twelvetrees at centre. It remains to be seen just how much energy Zebre will be able to muster, however, as their campaign in Europe does seem to be all but over. Still, knowing how fiery the Azzurri are, anything is possible.


Gloucester's 39-15 win over London Irish last week was their fifth in succession, which has propelled them to second place on the overall Aviva Premiership standings. Indeed, they look set to stage a proper assault on the title this season, with coach Ackermann having taken to English footy like a fish to water!

Ackermann's main concern ahead of the weekend should be around his side becoming too complacent. They may be heavy favourites to take maximum points away from Italy, but overconfidence may prove deadly against a side that has been known to cause an upset on occasion.

Knowing the Gloucester gaffer, however, it seems highly unlikely that this will be the case and, while a few relative "second-string" players may just earn selection, they should still be good enough to claim the bonus-point win.

Verdict: Gloucester
The English club has high aspirations this year, and their exciting style will prove far too much for Zebre to contain this weekend - at home or no.

Written by Shaun Goosen for

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