Gloucester out to build on derby success
October 22, 2010
Gloucester need to keep their winning momentum alive © Getty Images
After a two rounds of Amlin Challenge Cup action both Gloucester and Harlequins must now focus on further bridging the gap between themselves and the Aviva Premiership's high-flyers.
They go head to head at Kingsholm on Saturday, with the Gloucester faithful doubtless buoyed by their side's romp against fierce local rivals Bath in the last round as well as their European cruise against Rovigo last weekend.
The Cherry and Whites also have a defeat to reflect on from their Amlin break, they lost away to Top 14 strugglers Agen, as do Quins. Their quest to reclaim the place in the top four secured under Dean Richards would acquire added impetus with a big away win in front of the shed.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: The return of Mike Tindall to the midfield is sure to lift his side and with the autumn internationals just around the corner we can expect a big performance from the veteran.
Gloucester - Team News: Tindall is back to skipper the Cherry and Whites at centre having been rested last weekend. Nicky Robinson is back at fly-half and Charlie Sharples is preferred to Lesley Vainikolo on the wing. On the pack, there are just two changes from the side that started against Rovigo last weekend with Nick Wood and Brett Deacon are both restored to the starting line up.
Harlequins - Player to Watch: Fly-half Nick Evans has been in excellent form so far this season and could well hold the key to unlocking the Gloucester defence.
Harlequins - Team News: Joe Marler, Chris Brooker and John Andress make up the front row, with Tomas Vallejos and George Robson combining in the second row. Will Skinner, the only player remaining from last week's pack, is joined by Nick Easter and skipper Chris Robshaw. Evans takes his place back in the driving seat, linking once again with Danny Care at scrum-half. Jordan Turner-Hall returns to join George Lowe in the centres after a two week injury absence. The absence of James Johnston from the match day squad is due to the sudden and tragic death of his sister.
Key Battle: This game could well be decided in the centres where the focus will fall on Tindall and Lowe and their ability to breach the gain line and slam the door shut on their opponents.
Trivia: Harlequins have not won at Kingsholm for a fair old while - their last triumph in front of the Shed was in February 1999.
Stats: Harlequins are going for their third successive Premiership win for the first time since April 2009.
"Quins are a dangerous side. They've got probably one of the best eight, nine and ten combinations in the Premiership and you can't disregard that." - Gloucester boss Bryan Redpath has plenty of respect for his side's latest opponents
Fantasy: Evans and Robinson have both been in the points so far this season - take a punt on either in the ESPN Premiership Rugby Fantasy Game.
Prediction: Gloucester have a proud record at Kingsholm - especially against Quins - and may have the grit to shackle the visitors and claim a significant scalp.
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