Gloucester Rugby are a professional rugby union club based in the West Country city of Gloucester. They play in Premiership Rugby, England's top division of rugby, as well as in European competitions.
|Full name||Gloucester Rugby|
|Nickname(s)||Cherry and Whites|
|Location||Gloucester, Gloucestershire, England|
|Ground(s)||Kingsholm Stadium (Capacity: 16,115)|
|Chairman||Martin St Quinton|
|Director of Rugby||David Humphreys|
The club was formed in 1873 and since 1891 has played its home matches at Kingsholm Stadium, on the fringes of the city centre.
In the 2018–19 Premiership Rugby season, they finished 3rd and lost in the play off semi-finals, qualifying to compete in the 2019–20 European Rugby Champions Cup. The current head coach is Johan Ackermann, who was appointed in the summer of 2017.
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 red and white hooped shirts worn by the team. Matches with local rivals Bath and Bristol Bears are referred to as West Country derbies, in the 2018/19 season they managed an away draw and home win against Bath.
Formation & Early Years
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 current Kingsholm ground.
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 were no longer welcome at the Spa ground. They then acquired lands from the Castle Grim Estate for £4,000 in 1891 & have played home fixtures at this site ever since, in the area known as Kingsholm.
|Season Records 1873-1924|
|The Spa Ground Years, 1873-1891|
|1873-84||F. Hartley||No records
|1891-92||T. Bagwell||34||24||6||4||1909-10||A. Hudson||38||23||8||7|
|1876-77||J. F. Brown||11||6||3||2||1894-95||28||14||11||3||1912-13||39||21||14||4|
|1877-78||15||10||3||2||1895-96||C. Williams||26||8||12||6||1913-14||G. Holford||37||25||10||2|
|1878-79||15||10||3||2||1896-97||W. H. Taylor||31||18||8||5||1914-15||No fixtures due to WW1|
|1883-84||H. J. Boughton||19||15||2||2||1901-02||34||24||7||3||1919-20||G. Holford||33||19||12||2|
|1885-86||T. G. Smith||17||13||3||1||1903-04||34||18||14||2||1921-22||S. Smart||41||24||14||3|
|1886-87||19||10||7||2||1904-05||G. Romans & W. Johns||32||23||11||2||1922-23||F. W. Ayliffe||43||27||13||3|
|1887-88||19||10||6||3||1905-06||W. Johns||37||26||8||3||1923-24||T. Millington||49||24||14||1|
|1888-89||22||14||3||5||1906-07||D. R. Gent||34||21||11||2|
|1889-90||C. E. Brown||25||14||8||3||1907-08||G. Vears||34||23||9||2|
|1890-91||T. Bagwell||26||21||2||3||1908-09||A. Hudson||37||23||10||4|
Continued Successes & the Dawn of Professionalism
In 1972, Gloucester RFC won the first ever National Knock-Out Competition. Having beaten 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.
Professionalism finally came in 1995, but Gloucester 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 Early Professional Era
In 1999–00, a third-place finish took Gloucester into the Heineken Cup. With Phil Vickery, Trevor Woodman, Kingsley Jones and All Blacks legend Ian Jones forming the basis of a formidable pack, Gloucester Rugby reached the semi-finals.
In 2003, Gloucester won their first cup in 25 years, under new coach Nigel Melville.
During the 2002-03 season, Gloucester finished the league in first place, 15 points ahead of the next best club. Under the new Premiership playoff system, Gloucester Rugby were required to play a single knock-out match to determine the Premiership champions. Despite a significant rest period of three weeks, Gloucester lost the final to Wasps and have thus never been crowned English domestic champions. Nigel Melville left the club and was replaced by Dean Ryan for the 2005–06 season.
At the start of the 2005 season, owner Tom Walkinshaw made several changes to modernise the club. 'Gloucester Rugby Football Club' was renamed 'Gloucester Rugby' and, due to copyright issues, no longer used the City Coat of Arms as the club's crest (as the crest didn't belong to the club, so unofficial merchandise was freely available).
The 2005–06 season saw 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.
Gloucester Rugby finished 1st in the 2006–07 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 Saracens in the semi-final at Kingsholm, 50–9, and faced Leicester Tigers in the final. Gloucester lost 44–16.
Martin St Quinton a office equipment and telecoms entrepreneur acquired 25% of the club in 2008, and became vice chairman, with a focus on increasing sponsorship and other non-playing related areas.
Gloucester Rugby began the 2007–08 Guinness Premiership campaign as favourites, and came top of the league to book a place in the play-off semi-final at Kingsholm. Leicester Tigers won the match 25–26, marking Gloucester's third Premiership play-off defeat.
Gloucester reached the EDF Energy Cup Final in the 2008-09 season, losing to Cardiff at Twickenham.
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, who guided Tom's son Ryan, who inherited the club. A memorial service held at Gloucester Cathedral for Tom was attended by hundreds of fans.
Gloucester won the Anglo-Welsh cup in the 2010-11 season, beating Newcastle Falcons 34-7 in the final at Franklins' Gardens. They also made the Premiership play-offs this season, losing in the Semi-final to Saracens at Vicarage Road.
Gloucester Rugby play home 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. In that year, 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. This, together with a historically good home record, contributes to the ground also being nicknamed 'Castle Grim'.
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 Walkinshaw confirmed there were plans for the Shed to be redeveloped, but it would remain as a terrace (with an increased capacity of 6,000), 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 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.
According to local legend, it was decided that the club's colour 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. Travelling en route via 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. Painswick RFC refer to themselves as "The Original Cherry and Whites" in reference to the incident.
The hoops returned in the 2001–02 season, with thin white hoops. In 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 2005–06 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 2005–06 shirt was released, 'Hudsons & Co' 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.
For many years, Cotton Oxford and Cotton Traders provided the playing kits for Gloucester. Between the 2007–08 and the 2010–11 seasons, RugbyTech supplied their kits, and between the 2011–12 season and the 2015-16 Kooga supplied the kits.
Australian kit manufacturer XBlades were the kit provider, between 2016-17 and the end of the 2018-19 season. On the front of the current shirt, Mitsubishi Motors is the main shirt sponsor while Hartpury appears on each shoulder. The Peel Group feature on the upper back. Stowford Press feature on the lower back of the 2018-19 shirt and Mira Showers feature on the shorts.
Gloucester are referred to by fans and media alike as the Cherry and Whites, a reference to the club's colours. Although this is not an official nickname, the club themselves regularly use the nickname in marketing and community messaging, as well as the players through social media. In the early 2010s, the club released an official fan shirt with imagery of cherries and the city's Cathedral on. The history of this nickname being used can be traced to local media references in the 1920s, when the nickname the "Red and Whites" was used, before evolving into the now familiar "Cherry and Whites" nickname during the 1950s/60s.
|Premiership||Domestic Cup||European Cup|
|1987–88||Courage League Division 1||5th||29||N/A||John Player Cup||4th round||No competition||N/A|
|1988–89||Courage League Division 1||2nd||15||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Semi-final||No competition||N/A|
|1989–90||Courage League Division 1||2nd||17||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Runners-up||No competition||N/A|
|1990–91||Courage League Division 1||6th||12||N/A||Pilkington Cup||4th round||No competition||N/A|
|1991–92||Courage League Division 1||4th||15||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Semi-final||No competition||N/A|
|1992–93||Courage League Division 1||5th||12||N/A||Pilkington Cup||3rd round||No competition||N/A|
|1993–94||Courage League Division 1||8th||14||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Quarter-final||No competition||N/A|
|1994–95||Courage League Division 1||7th||13||N/A||Pilkington Cup||4th round||No competition||N/A|
|1995–96||Courage League Division 1||8th||12||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Semi-final||No English teams||N/A|
|1996–97||Courage League Division 1||7th||23||N/A||Pilkington Cup||Semi-final||Challenge Cup||4th in pool|
|1997–98||Allied Dunbar Premiership||6th||23||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||5th round||Challenge Cup||Quarter-final|
|1998–99||Allied Dunbar Premiership||10th||19||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||Semi-final||No English teams||N/A|
|1999–00||Allied Dunbar Premiership||3rd||40||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||Quarter-final||Challenge Cup||2nd in pool|
|2000–01||Zurich Premiership||7th||48||N/A||Tetley's Bitter Cup||5th round||Heineken Cup||Semi-final|
|2001–02||Zurich Premiership||3rd||68||N/A||Powergen Cup||Quarter-final||Challenge Cup||Semi-final|
|2002–03||Zurich Premiership||1st||82||Runners-up||Powergen Cup||Champions||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2003–04||Zurich Premiership||4th||63||-||Powergen Cup||6th round||Heineken Cup||Quarter-final|
|2004–05||Zurich Premiership||6th||47||-||Powergen Cup||Semi-final||Heineken Cup||2nd in pool|
|2005–06||Guinness Premiership||5th||59||-||Powergen Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup||Champions|
|2006–07||Guinness Premiership||1st||71||Runners-up||EDF Energy Cup||2nd in pool||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2007–08||Guinness Premiership||1st||74||Semi-final||EDF Energy Cup||2nd in pool||Heineken Cup||Quarter-final|
|2008–09||Guinness Premiership||6th||57||-||EDF Energy Cup||Runners-up||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2009–10||Guinness Premiership||7th||48||-||LV= Cup||Runners-up||Challenge Cup*||Quarter-final*|
|2010–11||Aviva Premiership||3rd||67||Semi-final||LV= Cup||Champions||Challenge Cup||2nd in pool|
|2011–12||Aviva Premiership||9th||44||-||LV= Cup||3rd in pool||Heineken Cup||3rd in pool|
|2012–13||Aviva Premiership||5th||60||-||LV= Cup||4th in pool||Challenge Cup||Quarter-final|
|2013–14||Aviva Premiership||9th||44||-||LV= Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup*||Quarter-final*|
|2014–15||Aviva Premiership||9th||48||-||LV= Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup||Champions|
|2015–16||Aviva Premiership||8th||49||-||No competition||N/A||Challenge Cup||Quarter-final|
|2016–17||Aviva Premiership||9th||46||-||Anglo-Welsh Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup||Runners-up|
|2017–18||Aviva Premiership||7th||56||-||Anglo-Welsh Cup||2nd in pool||Challenge Cup||Runners-up|
|2018–19||Gallagher Premiership||3rd||68||Semi-final||Premiership Cup||3rd in pool||Champions Cup||4th in pool|
Gold background denotes champions
Silver background denotes runners-up
Pink background denotes relegated
* After dropping into the competition from the Champions Cup/Heineken Cup
- English Premiership
- European Challenge Cup
- Anglo-Welsh Cup
- C&G Cup
- Champions: (2) 1997–98, 1998–99
- Premiership Rugby Sevens Series
- Premiership Rugby Shield
- Runners-up: (1) 2016–17
- Middlesex Sevens
- Champions: (1) 2005
The Gloucester Rugby squad for the 2019–20 season is:
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national union as has been defined under WR eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-WR nationality.
First Team Coaching
- David Humphreys – Director of Rugby
- Johan Ackermann – Head Coach
- Trevor Woodman – Forwards Coach
- Jonny Bell - Defence Coach
- Tim Taylor – Backs Coach
- Rory Teague - Skills Coach
- Dan Tobin – Head of Strength and Conditioning
- Alex Brown – Rugby Operations Manager
- Peter Walton – Academy Head Coach
- Alex Guest - Junior Academy Manager
- Kevin Mannion - Academy Performance Manager
- Matt Teague - Academy Coach
Notable former players
Diego Albanese Matias Cortese Mariano Galarza Rodrigo Roncero Huia Edmonds Jason Little Salesi Ma'afu Jeremy Paul Richard Tombs David Lougheed Anthony Allen Simon Amor Dave Attwood Iain Balshaw Olly Barkley Tom Beim Scott Benton Phil Blakeway Steve Boyle Alex Brown Freddie Burns Mike Burton Peter Butler Peter Buxton Paul Doran-Jones John Fidler Rob Fidler James Forrester John Gadd Andy Gomarsall Phil Greening Rupert Harden George Hastings Andy Hazell Bill Hook Ali James Peter Kingston Matt Kvesic Leon Lloyd Mark Mapletoft Jonny May Maurice McCanlis Neil McCarthy Steve Mills Olly Morgan Luke Narraway Dan Norton Steve Ojomoh John Orwin Tom Palmer Henry Paul Tom Price Peter Richards Dan Robson Don Rutherford Gordon Sargent Tom Savage James Simpson-Daniel Dave Sims Mike Teague Mike Tindall Andy Titterrell Lesley Vainikolo Phil Vickery Tom Voyce Richard West Nick Wood Trevor Woodman John Gordon A'Bear, international rugby union player with the British and Irish Lions, and Gloucester's youngest ever captain Akapusi Qera Apolosi Satala Koli Sewabu Olivier Azam Christian Califano Patrice Collazo Philippe Saint-André Ludovic Mercier, club points and goal-kick record holder Serge Simon Dimitri Yachvili Rob Elloway Dan Tuohy Marco Bortolami Dario Chistolini Tommaso D'Apice Carlos Nieto Federico Pucciariello Cristian Stoica John Afoa Jimmy Cowan Ian Jones Simon Mannix Nathan Mauger Carlos Spencer Greg Somerville Jeremy Thrush Terry Fanolua Junior Paramore Eliota Fuimaono-Sapolu Motu Matu'u Alasdair Dickinson Jim Hamilton Pete Jones Greig Laidlaw Rory Lawson Scott Lawson Chris Paterson Matt Scott Ian Smith Alasdair Strokosch Kyle Traynor Christo Bezuidenhout Quinton Davids Thinus Delport David Halaifonua Sione Kalamafoni Seti Kiole Lua Lokotui Aleki Lutui Sila Puafisi Gareth Cooper Mefin Davies Gareth Delve Danny Evans John Gwilliam Byron Hayward Richard Hibbard James Hook Will James Kingsley Jones Tavis Knoyle Tony Lewis, former England cricket captain Ross Moriarty Nicky Robinson Matthew Watkins Andy Williams
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