Harlequins v Gloucester Premiership Preview

Harlequins host Worcester Warriors at the Twickenham Stoop

Gloucester Director of Rugby Nigel Davies has made four changes to the team that defeated Leicester Tigers last weekend for this weekend’s Aviva Premiership clash against at Harlequins on Saturday.

Defending Aviva Premiership Rugby champions Harlequins returned to the top of the table following their 31-28 victory at London Irish on Sunday so this clash pits first against third at the Stoop.

Davies has made one injury enforced change with Matt Cox coming in for Sione Kalamafoni on the blindside flank, while Charlie Sharples is away with England and is replaced by Shane Monahan.

The remaining changes see Dan Murphy named as the loose head prop in place of Nick Wood, while Martyn Thomas gets the nod at full back ahead of Rob Cook. Cook and Wood are both named amongst the replacements.

Gloucester come into the game having defeated the Leicester Tigers last weekend, a hugely physical encounter. However, Davies told the media this week that the training schedule has been tweaked accordingly.

“It hasn’t affected our preparations, it’s just altered them a little. We had to give everything against Leicester so we’ve adjusted things a little and given the players a couple of days off.

“Hopefully, it’ll pay dividends for us this weekend. The most important day of the week for us is matchday and, hopefully, we’ll be in the right place physically and mentally.”

Both squads have been affected by international call ups, but Davies is still expecting to come up against a powerful Quins outfit.

“They’ll still be strong. You don’t win this league without having a strong squad of players, and they did it with some style last season. They’re the champions and will be favourites this weekend.

“We’ve just got to turn up with the same mentality we’ve had all season, to fight hard for the shirt and for each other.”

Quins tripped up in their last game at the Stoop in the Premiership but have not lost successive home games at the venue in the tournament since May 2011.

Gloucester Rugby’s only defeat so far this season came in the opening weekend at home to Northampton.

The Cherry & Whites are the only unbeaten side away from home in Aviva Premiership Rugby this season.

The last eleven encounters between the two clubs in the Premiership have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Gloucester’s most recent victory at the Twickenham Stoop in the competition was 31-21 on 9 September 2006.

With three Harlequins players being released back to the club from the England squad, Mike Brown starts at full-back while George Robson takes his usual place in the second row.

Jordan Turner-Hall has also been released and following consultation with the England management, the centre will undergo a rehabilitation and conditioning programme to allow his knee to settle further, as a result Tom Casson continues at inside centre with Matt Hopper outside him.

Sam Smith replaces Ugo Monye on the wing, while Nick Evans, who signed a new three year contract with the club this week, returns from injury to join Karl Dickson in the half backs.

Mark Lambert starts at loose head prop while Joe Gray returns from injury to start at hooker. Luke Wallace comes into the back row with Maurie Fa’asavalu and captain, Nick Easter.

Among the Harlequins replacements, Academy scrum-half Jordan Burns will look to make his first senior appearance.

Match : Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby
Date : Saturday 3rd November
Venue : Twickenham Stoop
Kick Off : 5.15pm
Live on: Sky Sports HD
Referee: Wayne Barnes (112th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees:Paul Dix, Robin Goodliffe.
TMO: Geoffrey Warren




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