Challenge Cup: Agen v Gloucester Preview

Johann Ackermann's Gloucester will be looking to book their place in the Challenge Cup Quarter-Finals when they take on Agen on Friday the 12th of December.

Gloucestershire Rugby Football Club travel to France this week with a massive carrot dangling in front of them in the form of qualification to the knock-out phase of the European Rugby Challenge Cup. A win over French outfit, Agen, would see the English club secure one of the best pool runners-up qualification berths, at a minimum.

Sporting Union Agen v Gloucester Rugby | Friday 12 December | Stade Armandie | 21:30

To Win (80 Mins)
Agen 10/1 | Draw 28/1 | Gloucester 1/33
Agen 8/10 (+21.5) | Gloucester (-21.5) 9/10

Sporting Union Agen

The French outfit has absolutely nothing, barring pride, to play for here as they currently occupy third spot on the Challenge Cup Pool 3 log - some 11 points behind second-placed Gloucester. Even if Agen were to pull off a minor miracle and win their final two games with a bonus point and Gloucester were to lose both of their games, the Frenchmen would still fall a point short of having any hope of securing one of the best-placed runners-up berths.

With Agen out of the running for the quarters, we're likely to see their head coach Phillipe Sella make a host of changes for this weekend's clash. This could spell trouble for Agen, however, as they have been rather woeful in the tournament as is evidenced by their mammoth defeat to Gloucester and their heavy loss to Pau. 

Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester have enjoyed yet another solid Challenge Cup run, with last year's beaten finalist currently sitting pretty in second-place in the Challenge Cup standings. Johan Ackermann's charges have managed to rack up a solid points tally of 16 from the four games that they have played thus far. They are currently the best-placed second-placed side across all of the five Challenge Cup pools and look assured of advancing to the quarter-finals. 

The men from England have won three out of their four fixtures in this year's competition, and registered a try-scoring bonus point in each of those encounters. Their only loss in the tournament to date came against pool-leaders Pau in the opening round. Since that 27-21 away loss to Pau, things have been rather rosy for the 'Cherry and Whites', who beat Agen 61-16 in the second round and then did the double over Zebre winning 33-27 in the third out in Italy and 69-12 in England.

Verdict: Gloucester (-21.5) 9/10
They absolutely hammered Zebre in the last round and I totally expect a similar mauling to occur this Friday evening. Get on the away side to clear the minus with confidence.

Written by Darry Worthington for

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