Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Gloucester

22nd November 2013 09:04

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Harlequins v Gloucester 2012

Blocked: Tom Casson

England full-back Mike Brown returns for Harlequins in the team announced to play Gloucester on Saturday.

Saturday will be an historic day for the club as it marks the 50th anniversary of the first Harlequins match played at Twickenham Stoop.

Brown and loosehead prop Joe Marler return from international duty with England, while Chris Robshaw is rested following the November International campaign.

In the forwards, Nick Easter captains the side from the second row and partners George Robson. Tom Guest is named at number eight, as Luke Wallace and Joe Trayfoot complete the back row.

In the backs, Matt Hopper and Tom Casson start in the centres while Nick Evans and Danny Care are named at fly-half and scrum-half respectively.

Scrum-half Sam Stuart will look to make an impact from the bench in place of Karl Dickson who picked up a knock last week.

Meanwhile, Director of Rugby Nigel Davies includes both Ben Morgan and Billy Twelvetrees, back from England duty, as Gloucester travel to London.

Both Morgan and Twelvetrees have been involved in the England matchday 23 for the past three weeks.

There are seven new faces from the team that started against Newcastle Falcons in the LV= Cup last Saturday.

James Hudson, Matt Kvesic and Morgan return in the pack, while Jimmy Cowan, Jonny May, Twelvetrees and Charlie Sharples come in to the back line.

Gloucester pushed Quins all the way at the Stoop last season, before going down 28-25 in a close affair, but Davies will be looking for an improved display 12 months on.

"We didn't really play up there last year, but we stuck in the game and had a chance maybe to do something at the end. But we were a bit disappointed with our performance up there to be honest," said Davies.

"They're a quality side. They're been right up there for the past two or three years, and probably won't be too happy with their own form right now.

"It'll be an intriguing fixture, normally quite entertaining. The game at Kingsholm last season was one of the best games I've seen for a long, long time - a fantastic advert for the game of rugby and the Aviva Premiership.

"But this is a different set of circumstances with two teams desperate for the win, maybe not on top of their games as much as they'd like to be. I think it'll be quite a tense affair."

Form: Harlequins have won their last two matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby, against Sale and Leicester, but have been victorious just once in their last five matches at Twickenham Stoop in all competitions: 24-3 against Sale in the Premiership on 26th October. Gloucester Rugby have slipped to three successive Premiership defeats since their 22-16 victory against Newcastle at Kingston Park on 29th September, this remains their only away victory in any competition since February. The last 13 clashes between the two clubs in the Premiership since 2006 have all been won by the home side on the day, whilst Gloucester have been victorious at the Stoop in the tournament only once since 2003: 31-21 in September 2006.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter (c), 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Harry Allen, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Nic Mayhew, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 George Merrick, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Charlie Walker.

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

Date: Saturday, November 23
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: Matthew Carley
Assistant referees: Andy Watson, Gareth Copsey
Timekeeper: Laurie Bryant
Television match official: Roy Maybank
Assessor: Brian Campsall

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