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Preview: Gloucester v Leicester

28th November 2013 12:12

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Shane Monahan Gloucester 2012

Fit again: Shane Monahan

Winger Shane Monahan will make his first start of the season as Gloucester entertain Leicester Tigers at Kingsholm on Friday.

Monahan injured a shoulder in the club's first preseason friendly, at Toulon back in August, but is now fully fit and returns in place of Charlie Sharples who picked up a hand injury at Harlequins last weekend.

It's one of five changes to the side that started at The Stoop last weekend with Darren Dawidiuk, Lua Lokotui, Dan Robson and Henry Trinder all returning to the starting line-up.

Gloucester scored three tries against Quins, having scored four against Wasps in the previous round of Premiership action. Both games resulted in defeat, and Davies stressed this week that Friday night against the Tigers is a big game for a number of reasons.

"It's always a huge game in its own right, but it's particularly important for us at this stage where we're desperate for a win," said Davies.

"We've not performed anywhere near the levels we expect of ourselves and we need this win. It's a crucial fixture for us.

"Leicester are very set piece orientated, they play a set piece game, they play it very well. They'll come here with a physical edge and look to squeeze us at the set piece. That's what they do week in, week out.

"But they've also got a lot of quality in their side that can take advantage of the opportunities that that pressure creates. It's a tried and trusted formula and they do it very well.

"Kingsholm is a fantastic place, Friday night is a fantastic time to play there and what better time to put on a big performance than when we're up against it a little bit. We need a big performance, we need a result and it's going to be a huge game for us."

Meanwhile, Blaine Scully and Marcos Ayerza return from international duty to claim a place in the Leicester Tigers line-up.

Wing Scully has been with the USA squad for the last two weeks, while prop Ayerza returns to club duty after playing in the autumn series with Argentina.

Ayerza joins England and Lions duo Tom Youngs and Dan Cole in the Leicester front row, while Thomas Waldrom starts in the number eight shirt.

Adam Thompstone joins Dan Bowden at centre after Matt Smith's injury in the win over London Irish last weekend.

Nineteen-year-old centre Javiah Pohe, who made his senior debut during this season's LV= Cup, is among the replacements.

"We battled through the game against London Irish last week to take the points, though we can play a lot better," said Leicester boss Richard Cockerill.

"We needed that win after a couple of disappointing results but the squad will be better for it and we know we need to push on from there."

Form: The Cherry and Whites have lost their last four Premiership encounters since battling to a 22-16 victory at Newcastle Falcons two months ago. But they will look to follow the example of the Tigers, who snapped a three-game winless streak in the league against London Irish last week. The record books seem to suggest Leicester will have the upper hand - Gloucester winning just once in the teams' last six meetings.

The teams:

Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Shane Monahan, 13 Henry Trinder, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 Freddie Burns, 9 Dan Robson, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Tom Savage (c), 5 James Hudson, 4 Lua Lokotui, 3 Shaun Knight, 2 Darren Dawidiuk, 1 Nick Wood.
Replacements: 16 Huia Edmonds, 17 Yann Thomas, 18 Rupert Harden, 19 Elliott Stooke, 20 Matt Cox, 21 Jimmy Cowan, 22 Mike Tindall, 23 Martyn Thomas.

Leicester: 15 Scott Hamilton, 14 Blaine Scully, 13 Adam Thompstone, 12 Dan Bowden, 11 Miles Benjamin, 10 Toby Flood (c), 9 Ben Youngs, 8 Thomas Waldrom, 7 Julian Salvi, 6 Jamie Gibson, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Louis Deacon, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Marcos Ayerza.
Replacements: 16 Neil Briggs, 17 Boris Stankovich, 18 Fraser Balmain, 19 Sebastian De Chaves, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Sam Harrison, 22 Owen Williams, 23 Javiah Pohe.

Date: Friday, November 29
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Venue: Kingsholm
Referee: Greg Garner
Assistant referees: Paul Burton, Gareth Copsey
TMO: Trevor Fisher

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