Preview: Gloucester v Harlequins

Date published: February 6 2015

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Gloucester have made two changes to their side to face Harlequins in a must-win LV= Cup game at Kingsholm.

Dan Robson and Aleki Lutui come into the side as defence coach John Muggleton, who takes the coaching reins this week, keeps faith with the majority of the side that performed so well last week against the Ospreys.

Robson comes in for Callum Braley at scrum-half while Aleki Lutui replaces Darren Dawidiuk at hooker. The only other changes are positional with Billy Burns and Aled Thomas swapping the fly-half and full-back roles.

The Cherry and Whites are two points behind Saracens in pool one, so need to win and hope that Sarries slip on Sunday at home to Exeter.

However, Muggleton, speaking to the local media, is simply looking for his young team to focus on their own game and not concern themselves with things outside of their influence.

“All we can do is keep turning up week in and week out with the young blokes which is what they did last week. It kept us alive in the competition, a slim chance we’ll make the semi-finals, but all we want to do is go out there and put in a performance,” he said.

“The young blokes are getting plenty of time out there this year. Age is no barrier, if you’re good enough then you’re old enough and last week they were very good. This competition does give people some reasonable quality footy at a young age, it’s a great development tool.”

Saturday’s opponents, Harlequins, can’t qualify after losing at home to Bath last weekend but Muggleton warns that this doesn’t mean that they should be taken lightly.

“It probably makes them a little more dangerous. Teams that have nothing to lose really have nothing to lose if they can’t qualify with one game to go. They can go in with an attitude that says they can really have a go at it and throw the ball around.

“We can only influence the result that we’re involved in, we can’t do anything about any other. These young blokes want to keep the momentum going. We don’t want to go back to the Premiership on a loss, we want to keep moving forward.”

Meanwhile Harlequins have made seven changes to the team that lost at Bath last time out, with Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ugo Monye and Ben Botica all start, and Turner-Hall making his first appearance since November.

In the forwards Luke Wallace returns to captain the side after recovering from a broken hand, while Matt Shields, who is on loan from Darlington Mowden Park, makes his senior starting debut. Netani Talei, a Fijian international with a wealth of experience, has signed a short-term contract with the club and is named at number 8.

The replacements include Harlequins Academy players Charlie Piper, Stan South, Henry Cheeseman and Jordan Burns. Mark Lambert, Joe Gray, Tim Swiel and Aseli Tikoirotuma are also named on the bench.

Gloucester Rugby: 15 Billy Burns, 14 Ollie Thorley, 13 Henry Purdy, 12 Bill Meakes, 11 Steph Reynolds, 10 Aled Thomas (c), 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ross Moriarty, 7 Dan Thomas, 6 Jacob Rowan, 5 Tom Hicks, 4 Elliott Stooke, 3 Sila Puafisi, 2 Aleki Lutui, 1 Dan Murphy
Replacements: 16 Luke Cole, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 James Hudson, 20 Lewis Ludlow, 21 Callum Braley, 22 Elliott Creed, 23 Kai Little

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 13 Harry Sloan, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Netani Talei, 7 Luke Wallace (c), 6 Joe Trayfoot, 5 Sam Twomey, 4 George Merrick, 3 Matt Shields, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Darryl Marfo
Replacements: 16 Charlie Piper, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Joe Gray, 19 Stan South, 20 Henry Cheeseman, 21 Jordan Burns, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Aseli Tikoirotuma

Date: Saturday, February 7
Venue: Kingsholm, Gloucester
Kick-off: 15.00 GMT
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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