|Full name||Gloucester Rugby|
|Union||Rugby Football Union|
|Ground(s)||Kingsholm Stadium (Capacity: 16,500)|
Gloucester Rugby are a professional English rugby union club situated in the west country city of Gloucester. The club plays in the domestic Aviva Premiership. They also compete in the Anglo-Welsh LV= Cup and the European Rugby Cup competitions.
The team plays out of its home stadium in the district of Kingsholm, just outside Gloucester city centre.
The club has no official nickname but are occasionally referred to as the 'Cherry and Whites' by supporters and the media in reference to the traditional hooped shirts worn by the team.
Gloucester Rugby's fiercest rivals are Bath, Worcester Warriors and Bristol with matches between the three sides being referred to as west country derbies, although Bristol were relegated from the Premiership in 2009 and have yet to return. Exeter, promoted in 2010, now provide a third West Country team to the Premiership. The club was formed in 1873.
- 1 History
- 2 Stadium
- 3 Modernisation
- 4 Current standings
- 5 Current squad
- 6 Transfers 2014–15
- 7 Notable former players
- 8 Honours
- 9 Sources
- 10 External links
The club was formed in 1873 after a meeting at the Spread Eagle Hotel with the announcement in the Gloucester Journal: "A football club (as rugby was then called) has been formed in this city – the season's operations begin at the Spa on the first Tuesday in next month." a team was then organised to play the College school which was actually played on the ground of the current Kingsholm.
There were 11 games played during the club's 1876–77 season, the club winning 6, losing 2 and drawing 3. Gloucester Rugby Football Club had a successful run in the coming seasons, playing 15 games in both the 1877–78 and 1878–79 seasons, winning 10, losing 2 and drawing 3 both times. In the 1879–80 season Gloucester RFC played 17 games and lost just two. The following season was less successful, winning six of their 13 fixtures. In the 1882–83 season the team won 11 of their 14 games. The club was playing more fixtures as the decade continued, contesting 20 games in the 1884–85 season, and up to 34 in the 1891–92 season. The club left the Spa after an argument with the cricket club that they were ground sharing with. During the winter the Rugby Club had used a salt mixture to remove frost from the pitch, resulting in the death of the grass on the wicket. Gloucester RFC were no longer welcome at the Spa ground.They then acquired lands from the Castle Grim Estate for £4,000 in 1891 and have resided in this place, known since as Kingsholm.
Gloucester RFC were suspended by the RFU for professionalism as a result of the club recruiting players: the "Shewell Case". The club responded by adopting a more puritanical adherence to the amateur regulations, and were reinstated. However when the Northern clubs split from the RFU to form the Northern Rugby Union (later known as the Rugby Football League) a number of Gloucester RFC players "went North".
The 1920–21 season became famous for Gloucester RFC when Fredd Webb skippered the club to 23 matches unbeaten at home at Kingsholm, with only the United Services and Pontypool clubs being able to defeat them at home. Gloucester RFC defeated Newport 12 to 9 in front of 8,000 spectators. The following season was infamous for the number of footballers that were sent from the field by officials, 14 for fighting, seven for arguing, six for language and one for foul play. Leicester actually cancelled their Gloucester RFC fixture because of this. Around the mid 1920s the media began to refer to the club as the 'Red and Whites'.
In 1972 Gloucester RFC won the first ever National Knock-Out Competition. Having overcome Bath, Bristol, London Welsh and Coventry (all away from home) in earlier rounds, they beat Moseley in a Twickenham final that was marred by violence and the sending off of Moseley's Nigel Horton. In 1978 Gloucester RFC won the first ever John Player Cup, defeating Leicester Tigers in another final noted for violent play both on and off the pitch at Twickenham Stadium.
Despite the two cup wins of the 1970s and a shared trophy in 1982, Gloucester RFC were soon to find themselves in the shadow of Bath, the rising force from down the A46.
Bath finished runners-up in the league in 1989, but the disastrous end to the 1989/90 campaign was to be a prelude to lean years. Closing in on English rugby's first 'Double', Gloucester RFC's last-day collapse handed Wasps the league title before a 48–6 cup final heartbreak at the hands of Bath.
By 1992/93 however it was a different story. The players called a crisis meeting with club coach Keith Richardson about the perceived lack of player rewards relative to other comparable clubs. A year later, club chairman Peter Ford restated the club's traditional anti-professionalism: "We play by the rules. .. whatever anybody else does, we'll stick by the rules. If they say we can't pay players, or offer them inducements or cars or flats. .. then we won't do it."
Richard Hill, former tormentor from fierce rivals Bath and Bristol, was instilled as Head Coach
Professionalism finally came in 1995, but Gloucester RFC was without a major investor, and lost ground in terms of player recruitment and revenue acquisition. But this did not prevent the club from transforming itself into a limited company.
The Walkinshaw Era
In Saint-Andre's first full season, a third-place finish in 1999/2000 took Gloucester into the Heineken Cup. With Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman and All Blacks legend Ian Jones forming the basis of a formidable pack, Gloucester RFC marched their way to the last four, where only last-ditch Leicester defending would deny them a final appearance.
Saint-Andre's acrimonious departure couldn't stop them winning their first cup triumph in 25 years in 2003, under new coach Nigel Melville.
Unstoppable in the league, Gloucester RFC reached the inaugural Championship final 15 points clear of their nearest rival, however under the new league system Gloucester RFC were 'rewarded' with a 3 week lay-off, while Wasps played regular rugby during the 3 weeks as a result Gloucester RFC lost their momentum and were crushed emphatically by Wasps at Twickenham.
During the next few seasons Gloucester RFC failed to build on the success of the 2002–03 season. Things became worse in the 2004–05 season when they failed to qualify for the Heineken Cup. Nigel Melville left the club and was replaced by Dean Ryan for the 2005–06 season.
The 2005–06 season was an improvement in the club's fortunes, although they did not qualify for the play-offs, they were strong contenders and lost out on the last day of the regular season. They also won silverware in the European Challenge Cup, defeating London Irish in a tense final that went into extra time. This season was also a glimpse of the incredible talent Gloucester RFC were bringing up from their academy.
Gloucester Rugby finished 1st in the 2006/2007 Guinness Premiership table. Both Leicester and Gloucester Rugby tied with 71 points, but Gloucester Rugby gained first place with more games won. Gloucester Rugby defeated the Saracens in the semi-final at Kingsholm, 50–9, to move into the Twickenham final where they faced Leicester Tigers. However, Gloucester Rugby were beaten heavily by the Tigers with the final score being 44–16, Gloucester Rugby again being defeated by the play-off system. They also demonstrated their level of skill and vision in the Heineken Cup, against sides such as Leinster and Edinburgh, despite not progressing past the group stage.
Gloucester Rugby began the 2007/08 Guinness Premiership campaign as favourites, and started the season strongly winning their first five games before defeat away to London Irish. Dean Ryan's main focus for the 2007/08 season was for Gloucester to establish themselves in Europe, but despite coming top of their group they lost to Munster in the Quarter Final. After the Heineken Cup exit Gloucester overcame their poor mid-season form with a series of victories capping it off with their first away win against Wasps for 18 years, and then defeating Bath in an intense encounter at Kingsholm to win the league for the second year running, and book a home semi-final in the Championship Play-off against Leicester Tigers in a repeat of last seasons Championship final.
The result was the same, although a closer affair. The Tigers won 25–26 courtesy of an Andy Goode drop goal 3 minutes from time but Gloucester had seemed in control. They led 12–3 at half-time and 22–13 at one point in the second half. However, a sliced box kick from Gloucester fly-half Ryan Lamb (on his birthday), followed by a catastrophic error by Iain Balshaw who passed metres behind Willie Walker, allowed Leicester's former All-Black Aaron Mauger to score under the posts and close the gap to 22–20. An Andy Goode penalty gave them the lead and a drop goal for each team in the last ten minutes (in which Lamb also missed a penalty) meant that the Leicester Tigers became the first team in premiership history to win a semi-final away from home, and once again left Gloucester's fans heart-broken.
After failing to qualify for the play-off's in 2008/09 and defeat to Cardiff in the EDF Energy Cup Final at Twickenham, Gloucester announced on 11 June 2009 that Dean Ryan had left the club by mutual consent. He was replaced by assistant Bryan Redpath.
Tragedy struck the club on 12 December 2010, when popular club owner Tom Walkinshaw died from cancer at the age of 64. David McKnight was appointed non-executive chairman in April 2011, and will work alongside Tom's son Ryan at Kingsholm.
On 17 April 2012, Bryan Redpath announced his resignation due in his words to a disappointing season. He subsequently went on to manage Sale Sharks. On 2 June 2012, Ken Nottage announced Nigel Davies as the new Director of Rugby for Gloucester, succeeding Bryan Redpath at Kingsholm. On 8 June 2012, Gloucester managing director Ken Nottage announced to exit the club by July end, after a tenure of 13 years at the club.
On 13 November 2012, Gloucester Rugby hosted an International match against Fiji as part of the 2012 Autumn Internationals. The match was held at Gloucester's home stadium of Kingsholm Stadium and Gloucester won 31–29. On 12 November 2013, Gloucester hosted another International match against Japan, as part of the 2013 Autumn Internationals, which was also held at Kingsholm Stadium, where Gloucester won 40-5.
Premier league Positions
|1997–1998 – Allied Dunbar Premiership||6th||23|
|1998–1999 – Allied Dunbar Premiership||10th||19|
|1999–2000 – Allied Dunbar Premiership||3rd||30|
|2000–2001 – Zurich Premiership||7th||48|
|2001–2002 – Zurich Premiership||3rd||67|
|2002–2003 – Zurich Premiership||1st||82|
|2003–2004 – Zurich Premiership||4th||63|
|2004–2005 – Zurich Premiership||6th||47|
|2005–2006 – Guinness Premiership||5th||59|
|2006–2007 – Guinness Premiership||1st||71|
|2007–2008 – Guinness Premiership||1st||74|
|2008–2009 – Guinness Premiership||6th||57|
|2009–2010 – Guinness Premiership||7th||48|
|2010–2011 – Aviva Premiership||3rd||67|
|2011–2012 – Aviva Premiership||9th||44|
|2012–2013 – Aviva Premiership||5th||60|
Gloucester Rugby play their homes matches at Kingsholm Stadium.
The club left the Spa Ground for Kingsholm when it bought an area of the Castle Grim Estate for £4,000 in 1891.
Upon moving from the Spa in 1891, Gloucester Rugby Football Club opened the "Sixpenny" stand, which later became known as the Shed. Kingsholm's capacity was further increased to 20,000 in 1926 when a grandstand was added to the stadium at a cost of £2,500, containing 1,750 seats. However six years later it was destroyed by fire. There were plans proposed to increase the seating capacity of the stadium to 7,000. However, it remained a proposal, although the grandstand was replaced, terracing in the Sixpenny, and at the Tummp end was preferred, and indeed, more affordable in the early 20th Century.
Like the clubs of the Welsh mining valleys, Gloucester Rugby traditionally drew its support and its playing strength from local working-class communities. The Shed, so-called because it looks like a cow shed, became known as such in the 1950s. Gloucester Rugby's fanzine, 'Shed Head' refers to it as 'the cauldron of fear'. The Shed is standing-only terracing that runs continuously down one touchline, opposite the point where visiting teams emerge from the dressing rooms. Its low tin roof amplifies the effect of a passionate support which has been mentioned by commentators sitting above it during live broadcasts.
In October 2003, Gloucester Rugby launched 'Project Kingsholm'. 'The Kingsholm Supporters Mutual' (KSM) was set up by Gloucester Rugby Football Club in October 2003, to help fundraise towards 'Project Kingsholm', the redevelopment of Gloucester’s entire ground at a cost of £6,000,000, and the launch of a supporters shares rights issue. The idea was to be similar to the development at Franklins Gardens, home of Northamption Saints RFC, although on a bigger scale, incorporating both seating and terracing. Despite the KSM meeting the fundraising targets, Gloucester Rugby abandoned all plans.
In 2006, the club announced it would be making an extension to Kingsholm, bringing the stadium capacity up to 16,500. This was mainly to comply with Premier Rugby's minimum seat number requirements. The old main Grandstand (which was both terracing and seating) was later replaced by a new all seater structure, while terracing on the Worcester Street end of the ground was developed into an all seater stand, known as the 'Buildbase' stand at the time.
In January 2007, the club announced plans to redevelop The Shed terracing to all seater. This was intended to enable the entire stadium to become all-seating. A large number of supporters did not want to see this happen under the proposals put forward by Gloucester Rugby, and a poster campaign under the name of 'Save Our Shed' or 'SOS' was initiated by the KSM, and sponsored by the Gloucester Citizen newspaper. Posters were held up by supporters standing in the Shed, on camera during a televised Heineken Cup match against Leinster at Kingsholm. T-shirts were also made independently by supporters, with the slogan 'Save Our Shed' printed on them. The campaign did not protest the redevelopment of the Shed, rather the plans put forward at the time which were to replace all terracing with seats, leaving no alternative anywhere in the ground, despite such a large demand for terracing.
In September 2008, chairman Tom Wilkinshaw confirmed there were plans for the Shed to be redeveloped, but it would remain as a terrace (with an increased capacity of 6000), with hospitality units above it. However, as of the 2010/11 season, the need and desire for redeveloping the Shed decreased with the above mentioned plans proving to be conjecture, and as such abandoned, have never come into effect and do not appear to for the foreseeable future.
2007 also saw the club reject the proposal of a new 20,000 all seater stadium in an area of the city nicknamed 'The Railway Triangle'. This was intended to be shared with the local football side. Kingsholm was also suggested in October 2007 as a possible temporary home for Gloucester City A.F.C. after their stadium Meadow Park was flooded and then abandoned following the summer floods. This move was, however, rejected by Gloucester Rugby Chairman, Tom Walkinshaw.
At the start of the 2005 season, the club chairman Tom Walkinshaw began several changes to modernise the club in order to keep up with rugby's rapidly advancing professionalism, whilst the majority of fans supported the need to modernise, some fans were concerned that the club was losing touch with its heritage and traditions. 'Gloucester Rugby Football Club' has been renamed 'Gloucester Rugby' and, due to copyright issues, no longer use Gloucester City's Coat of Arms as the club's crest (as the crest didn't belong to the club, and with no copyright, unofficial merchandise was freely available).
The famous cherry-and-white-hooped jersey did not originally belong to the club. Painswick RFC, based in Gloucestershire and the oldest village club, are the original 'Cherry and Whites'. According to local legend at the club's first meeting it was decided that the club's uniform was to be entirely navy blue, yet on an away trip they realised they had forgotten to bring sufficient Navy strip for the entire team, leaving behind a kit bag full of shirts, Travelling en route through Painswick, they stopped off at the local rugby club and asked to borrow a strip. Painswick RFC loaned them 15 of their cherry-and-white jerseys, the Gloucester side went on to win the away fixture and failed to return the shirts to Painswick, adopting the colours as their own. In 2003, to celebrate Gloucester RFC's 130th anniversary, Gloucester RFC returned the favour and donated Painswick RFC an entire new set of first team colours.
For the start of the 2001/02 season the club introduced new shirts which no longer featured the cherry-and-white hoops, instead featuring a largely red shirt with small white sleeves. They returned to hoops in the 2003/04 season, with thin white hoops. As of the 2005/06 season, the club moved away from traditional hoops again. The new jersey was predominantly red, with white panelling on the side in a 'ladder' effect. This was dubbed the 'Spiderman' or 'Arsenal' kit by supporters. The new kit also abandoned the traditional navy blue shorts and socks, with the new design becoming all red. On the release of the 05/06 shirt there was a degree of disappointment in Gloucester Rugby's decision to move away from the hooped jersey again (a design generally associated with traditional rugby shirts), as this was a dramatic move away from the classic Gloucester Rugby design. After the new 05/06 shirt was released, 'Hudson & Sons Sports Shop' of Gloucester city centre, released a classic, plain cherry-and-white-hooped Gloucester Rugby jersey, manufactured by Cotton Traders (who supplied Gloucester Rugby jerseys prior to the 2007–08 season, when the manufacture of kit was taken over by RugbyTech), albeit an unofficial jersey which is not associated with the club, the shirt proved popular with fans unhappy with the official shirt. On the back of this success, many of the Public Houses in the Kingsholm area also began selling shirts with the classic hoops. Although these shirts do not display the name 'Gloucester Rugby', due to copyright, the Hudson variety were labelled 'Gloucester Rugby Football Club' while the pub versions used the title 'Cherry and Whites'. Both designs used the traditional cherry-and-white hoops, with the title under the Gloucester city coat of arms. As such many of the fans who disapproved of the new original design were able to purchase this classic design instead.
A number of fans commented on the irony that whilst the new crest and shirt design were originally designed in order to prevent unofficial merchandise, they have in fact increased the number of fans turning to unofficial shirts. Gloucester Rugby released its own, official, supporters shirt displaying the classic hooped design with the new club crest above the date of the club's inception '1873'. For the start of the 2009/10 season, the club returned the first team jersey design to the cherry-and-white hoops.
Throughout Gloucester Rugby's history the club has never had an official nickname, the first unofficial nicknames for the club were 'the elver eaters' and 'the city', although that name is a distant memory mused over by the club's oldest and longest supporters, the classic 'cherry and whites' nickname, which has become synonymous with the club, was created by the media in reference to the club's colours. The media first referenced the club colours around the 1950s as the 'red and whites' and continued to use this nickname well into the 1960s before changing to the 'cherry and whites'. However, Painswick RFC, from whom Gloucester 'borrowed' their colours, claim to be the originators of the nickname 'the cherry and whites' and proudly present themselves as "The original Cherry & Whites".
The issue of the club's nickname has created split opinions amongst it supporters. There are some who would like to see the 'cherry and whites' nickname made official and who see the club suggesting that a colour isn't intimidating as ludicrous, pointing out that probably the most intimidating team in the world are the New Zealand All Blacks, who don't seem to find having a colour nickname crippling. Other fans don't see the need of having an official nickname and are happy to simply use 'Gloucester'.
|Club||Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Points For||Points Against||Points Difference||Tries For||Tries Against||Try Bonus||Losing Bonus||Points|
|Green background (rows 1 to 4) are play-off places. The top six teams qualify directly for the 2014-15 Rugby Champions Cup; the seventh-placed team advances to a play-off against the seventh-placed team in Top 14 for a Champions Cup place. Red background (row 12) will be relegated if the winner of the RFU Championship meets the requirements for promotion. Updated 14 April 2014 — source: Premiership Rugby|
2013/14 Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under IRB eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-IRB nationality.
Current England Elite Squad
Current England Saxons Squad
- John Afoa from Ulster
- Richard Hibbard from Ospreys
- Mariano Galarza from Worcester Warriors
- Greig Laidlaw from Edinburgh Rugby
- Aled Thomas from Scarlets
- Mark Atkinson from Bedford Blues
- Tom Isaacs from Ospreys
- Steve McColl from Leeds Carnegie
- Tom Palmer from London Wasps
- Freddie Burns
- Will James retiring
- Matt Cox to Worcester Warriors
- Ryan Mills to Worcester Warriors
- Andy Hazell retiring
- Tavis Knoyle to Cardiff Blues
- Tim Taylor retiring
Notable former players
Below is a non-exhaustive list of former players for the club who have been either club record holders or have been full internationals during their time at the club.
- Zurich Championship (1): 2001–02
- Anglo-Welsh Cup (5): 1971–72, 1977–78, 1981–82 (shared), 2002–03, 2010–11
- C&G League Cup (2): 1997–98, 1998–99
- European Challenge Cup (1): 2005–06
- National Merit Table 'A' (1): 1985–86
- Middlesex 7s (1): 2005
- Premiership Rugby Sevens Series (1): 2013
- Redpath replaces Ryan BBC Sport – 11 June 2009
- "Gloucester mourn owner Tom Walkinshaw". BBC Sport. 12 December 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010.
- "Gloucester 34–7 Newcastle". BBC Sport. 20 March 2011. Retrieved 22 March 2011.
- "Bryan Redpath resigns as Gloucester head coach". BBC Sport. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 18 April 2012.
- "Davies swaps Scarlets for Gloucester in rugby director role". Daily Mail. 2 June 2012.
- "Ken Nottage". Retrieved 9 June 2012.
- "Gloucester defeat Fiji 31-29". Gloucester Rugby. 13 November 2012.
- "Gloucester defeat Japan 40-5". Gloucester Rugby. 12 November 2013.
- "Gloucester vs Japan". Gloucester Rugby. 12 November 2013.
- Walkinshaw's plan for the shed BBC Sport – 9 Sep 2008
- "Gloucester sign former All Black tighthead prop John Afoa from Ulster". BBC Sport. 8 December 2013.
- "Gloucester sign Wales and Lions hooker Richard Hibbard from Ospreys". Sky Sports. 16 December 2013.
- "Gloucester sign Argentinean Test lock Mariano Galarza from Worcester". Sky Sports. 5 February 2014.
- "Edinburgh and Scotland captain Greig Laidlaw secures Gloucester move". Sky Sports. 4 March 2014.
- "Scarlets fly-half Aled Thomas makes switch to Gloucester Rugby". Sky Sports. 24 March 2014.
- "Gloucester sign Bedford Blues centre Mark Atkinson". Premiership Rugby. 25 March 2014.
- "Ospreys centre Tom Isaacs to join Gloucester next season". Sky Sports. 26 March 2014.
- "Gloucester sign specialist full back Steve McColl from Leeds Carnegie". Gloucester Citizen. 27 March 2014.
- "Gloucester sign England international second row Tom Palmer from London Wasps". Premiership Rugby. 28 March 2014.
- "Gloucester and England fly-half Freddie Burns departure". BBC Sport. 14 January 2014.
- "Welsh lock Will James retires at the end of the season". BBC Sport. 23 January 2014.
- "Worcester sign Gloucester duo Matt Cox and Ryan Mills". BBC Sport. 28 January 2014.
- "Gloucester's former England stalwart flanker Andy Hazell announces retirement". BBC Sport. 4 February 2014.
- "Wales scrum-half Tavis Knoyle leaves Gloucester to join Cardiff Blues". BBC Sport. 5 February 2014.
- "Gloucester fly-half Tim Taylor retires because of injuries". Sky Sports. 6 March 2014.
- Official site
- Gloucester at RugbyWeek.com
- Live streaming commentary on all games and lots more from BBC Gloucestershire
- Gloucester Rugby Heritage
- Visitor information on Gloucester for travelling fans – details of where to stay and eating out in Gloucester
- The Kingsholm Supporters Mutual – an independent supporters organisation