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Preview: Gloucester v Leicester

26th October 2012 10:39

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Freddie Burns kicking for Gloucester

Back for Gloucester: Freddie Burns

Gloucester Director of Rugby Nigel Davies has made five changes to his starting XV for Saturday's visit of Leicester Tigers to Kingsholm.

Freddie Burns is back at fly-half after having missed the club's two recent European outings as one of two changes in the backline while Rob Cook replaces Martyn Thomas at full-back.

Up front, Nick Wood and Rupert Harden return at loosehead and tighthead respectively while Tom Savage replaces the injured Jim Hamilton in the second-row.

The visit of the Tigers will be a stern examination of Gloucester's credentials despite Davies' side being unbeaten in seven games, and recent meetings between the two teams at Kingsholm have been close fought encounters.

It's a fact not lost upon Davies, but he insists that it won't be anything new for his team.

"We've had a few of those this season so we're used to them! Leicester are very good at staying strong until the end of matches and grinding out results," said the Gloucester boss.

"I'm sure it'll be a tight, tough encounter. We've also gained a lot of experience in the past five or six matches of getting results towards the end of the game, so it should be an exciting fixture which goes right to the death."

Meanwhile, Geordan Murphy and Louis Deacon return to the Leicester Tigers starting line-up.

Club captain Murphy has recovered from a knee injury suffered in the draw with Saracens in Round 3, while Deacon returned from injury to play as a replacement in last weekend's win over the Ospreys and is now given a starting place. The duo have almost 550 first-team appearances for Tigers between them.

"Geordan and Deacs are two of our most experienced players and two of the leaders in the camp so it is good to have them back in the squad," said Leicester Director of Rugby Richard Cockerill.

"We've had a decent start but it is important that we keep our form going, especially with the autumn international period coming up."

Tigers are without Miles Benjamin, Tom Croft, Rob Hawkins, Wessel Jooste, Julian Salvi and Richard Thorpe this week due to injury.

Form: Gloucester are unbeaten in their last seven matches in all competitions, a sequence which includes five successive victories. The Cherry & Whites have won their last three games at Kingsholm against Wasps, Bath and Bordeaux-Begles. Leicester Tigers' solitary defeat in Aviva Premiership Rugby so far this campaign was 9-22 to defending champions Harlequins at Welford Road in round four. The Tigers have lost just one Premiership game on the road in the past twelve months: 11-19 at Exeter on 11 February. The Tigers are undefeated in their last four clashes with Gloucester in all competitions, but have won just once at Kingsholm since 2008: 19-14 in this equivalent fixture last season.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Mike Tindall (c), 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 James Simpson-Daniel, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Jimmy Cowan, 8 Ben Morgan 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Will James, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Rupert Harden, 2 Huia Edmonds, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Koree Britton, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Shaun Knight, 19 Peter Buxton, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Dan Robson, 22 Martyn Thomas, 23 Shane Monahan.

Leicester: 15 Geordan Murphy (c), 14 Scott Hamilton, 13 Manusamoa Tuilagi, 12 Anthony Allen, 11 Vereniki Goneva, 10 Toby Flood, 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Thomas Waldrom, 6 Steve Mafi, 5 Geoff Parling, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Logovi'i Mulipola.
Replacements: 16 George Chuter, 17 Marcos Ayerza, 18 Martin Castrogiovanni, 19 Ed Slater, 20 Graham Kitchener, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 George Ford, 23 Matt Smith.

Date: Saturday, October 27
Kick-off: 16:45 BST
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Andrew Pearce, Kevin Stewart
Television match official: David Grashoff
Timekeeper: Anthony Turner
Assessor: Gary Welsh

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