RUGBY UNION: Saint-Andre Ready for an Emotional Kingsholm Return

The Birmingham Post (England), December 13, 2003 | Go to article overview
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RUGBY UNION: Saint-Andre Ready for an Emotional Kingsholm Return


Byline: Andrew Baldock

Philippe Saint-Andre has braced his Bourgoin players for a Heineken Cup cauldron when they tackle Gloucester at Kingsholm today.

The former France international should know what to expect, having spent five years with Gloucester as player and then coach. It will be SaintAndre's first journey back since he left the area and the stakes are high.

Bourgoin were beaten at home by Munster last weekend and know their chances of progressing from Pool Five will suffer a huge setback if they lose.

'If you want a result at Kingsholm, then you must never switch off, not for one minute,' said Saint-Andre.

'When Gloucester start to go forward, when the stadium is full with all the noise, you can concede a lot of points in two or three minutes. When a team like Gloucester get full of confidence, they are difficult to stop.

'They are strong in the setpiece, strong in defence and with the pressure of the public, the referee can penalise the other team. Funny things like that can happen.

'We have to be strong in our hearts and minds. Gloucester have a big reputation in France --we know it will be hard.'

Whatever the outcome though, Saint-Andre seems guaranteed a warm welcome from the Gloucester faithful, who relished much of the rugby produced during his coaching regime. 'It will be very emotional,' he admitted. 'I will be very pleased to be back in Gloucester, in front of The Shed. There are sure to be a lot of memories.

'I am glad I have the chance to see the club and the supporters. It is impossible to forget that I spent five years of my life in Gloucester --the last years I had as a player and the first as a coach.'

Gloucester rugby director Nigel Melville, meanwhile, welcomes back-wing Marcel Garvey to the Cherry and Whites' starting lineup after injury.

Melville has made two changes to the pack, with lock Adam Eustace replacing Mark Cornwell and ex-Moseley flanker Peter Buxton in for the injured Andy Hazell.

On the replacements' bench, centre Terry Fanolua is back after suffering a thumb injury in the Samoa v England World Cup match seven weeks ago.

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