CHRIS Elias has described Royal Wootton Bassett staging an Aviva Premiership A League match as a ‘coup’.

The chairman of the Ballards Ash club is delighted that Gloucester have opted to stage their A team match against Exeter Braves on Monday, December 18 (7.30pm) at Bassett’s home.

While many an eyebrow in Gloucester may have been raised at the decision to take the game away from their rugby heartlands, Elias is thrilled to see his club get the opportunity.

“It’s a bit of coup for us - we are very pleased,” the Bassett chairman said. “It is fantastic that Gloucester recognise that they have support outside of Gloucester, Cheltenham and the Forest of Dean.

“If you go to Swindon or Kemble train station on a Saturday when Gloucester are at home, you’ll see plenty of Cherry and Whites shirts.”

Elias is hoping Bassett, who are without a first-team game this weekend in South West One East, will see a bumper crowd at Ballards Ash a week before Christmas.

“We are hoping to make it a night for all the family,” Elias said. “It is in the run-up to Christmas so we are hoping to get a good crowd down to the ground.

“We’ve had a few games where we’ve had a couple of thousand at the ground and hopefully we could get something similar.

“We’ve had a couple of our juniors go on to play in Gloucester’s first team in Jonny May and Gareth Evans - we are all looking to the match.”

A Gloucester statement said: “The club recognised the large number of supporters that travel from the Swindon and Wiltshire area and are delighted to be taking the game to Royal Wootton Bassett RFC and the strengthening of the relationship between the club and its local clubs.’’

Meanwhile, in the Dorset and Wilts Intermediate Cup, Swindon College Old Boys begin the defence of their crown with a trip to North Dorset in the quarter-finals.

Having got three games away from Twickenham last season in the Senior Vase, Mark Lea’s men go into the match on the back of a 35-0 Southern Counties South defeat to Trowbridge.

Supermarine have been handed a home walkover win in their Senior Vase clash with unbeaten Dorset and Wilts One North leaders Bradford on Avon after they withdrew.