Kriel is out of Chiefs double header Thorley form ‘good for England’
JACO Kriel is set to miss Gloucester’s Heineken Champions Cup double header against Exeter with a hamstring injury.
The South Africa international is currently not registered for European competition and head coach Johan Ackermann revealed that he has not added him due to a knock he picked up in the Premiership win over local rivals Worcester on Saturday.
Kriel also missed the first two games of the competition as he was still recovering from a shoulder injury and was replaced in the squad by Gareth Evans with Gloucester short on back-row options for the away game against Munster.
He has played four games for the club since his comeback and could be swapped back into the European squad in place of Evans later in the pool stages but Gloucester are set to go with what they have for the next two weeks.
Ackermann said: “On Saturday he had a tweak in his hamstring and he wouldn’t have been fit for this coming week anyhow so that’s why we didn’t want to register him now, we’re just going to play with the back rowers that we’ve got for this next two rounds.”
Gloucester have added another South African to their European squad though with hooker Jaco Visagie taking the place of academy winger Alex Morgan.
Visagie has impressed in his two appearances since joining on loan from The Blue Bulls on a three-month deal last month to provide cover for the injured Franco Marais and is likely to be needed for at Sandy Park.
Australia international James Hanson will have a scan on his hand after picking up an injury against Worcester, leaving Henry Walker as the only other fit hooker in the squad.
“It’s still quite swollen and we just have to investigate if it’s something more,” said Ackermann.
“Todd Gleave is struggling with a hand injury, so we’re down to two hookers so it’s a blessing that Jaco is here and even more so that we had to register him.”
On Saturday he had a tweak in his hamstring and he wouldn’t have been fit for this coming week anyhow so that’s why we didn’t want to register him now Johan Ackermann
» JOHAN Ackermann says the rise of Ollie Thorley is “great for England rugby.”
The Gloucester wing continued his sensational form since his comeback from a shoulder injury, scoring twice in the 36-16 derby win over Worcester at Kingsholm to take his tally to four in three Premiership games this season.
“I’m just pleased for Ollie,” said Cherry and Whites head coach Johan Ackermann.
“He had his setbacks last season and at the start of this season but he’s in great form.
“I’m pleased for him just because of the person he is. He’s a great team man, he’s always smiling, always willing to work hard off the field, always willing to work hard around the players and the reality is he’s always willing to listen and always willing to be coached and take advice.
“I’m so happy when stuff like that happens for people who put in the hard work.
“He shows a lot of heart and that you can’t coach.
“I just think the thing that makes Ollie is good is obviously he’s strong and fast but he’s willing to put in the extra work and learn and be coachable.
“His attitude his right, the way he trains is the way he plays, there’s no half measures with him and that’s great for us.
“There are players around him that create opportunities and it is a team sport but like I said it’s players like him that when the bad times are there he stays positive and therefore I’m so pleased he can experience the good part of it as well.”
Thorley’s form has even prompted talk that the 22-year-old could make a late run to force his way into England’s 2019 World Cup squad.
“It’s great for England rugby that there’s another winger on the rise and it increases the talent pool,” said Ackermann.
“The best thing for Ollie is to keep playing like he is, keep working on the things he can improve and things will look after itself.
“If players start losing form that are ahead of him then obviously he’s going to put a lot of pressure on them and the reality is if he plays well for us, he can control that side, things will happen for him.”
Jason Woodward of Gloucester skips past the challenge of Anton Bresler of Worcester durling last Saturday’s win at Kingsholm
»Former Gloucester and England A coach Keith Richardson