Quins look to make it three from three
September 14, 2011
Ugo Monye has been central to Quins' fast start to the season © Getty Images
Harlequins will look to maintain their strong start to the season when they take on Gloucester at the Stoop on Saturday.
Quins have performed well in the spotlight in the opening weeks of the season. They held off a strong London Irish outfit at Twickenham on the opening day and then beat last season's Heineken Cup finalist Northampton 26-13 in front of the ESPN cameras at the Stoop to briefly go top of the table before Wasps and Exeter Chiefs sceured wins.
Gloucester's start to the season has been less smooth with a narrow 26-24 defeat to Northampton Saints - inflicted by former Cherry and Whites fly-half Ryan Lamb with a late penatly - followed by a 29-8 victory over Worcester Warriors.
Harlequins - Player to Watch: Ugo Monye, devastated by his omission from England's World Cup squad, played like a man possessed against Saints last weekend, so expect more of the same from the Lions wing as he looks to prove to Martin Johnson that he should have taken him to New Zealand.
Harlequins - Team News: Ross Chisholm has been ruled out with an ankle injury and that results for a start in Sam Smith on the wing in what is the only change to the back-line which faced Northampton. Up front, meanwhile, Joe Marler is suspended, so Mark Lambert will fill the void at loose-head prop.
Gloucester - Player to Watch: Australian hooker Nathan Charles has arrived at Gloucester on a short-term loan from the Force so he will be determined to impress this weekend in what will be his first start for the club following two cameos as a replacement.
Gloucester - Team News: Charles takes over at No.2 from Darren Dawidiuk and the Aussie will be joined in the front-row by Rupert Harden, who replaces Dario Chistolini at tight-head. Alex Brown returns in the second-row at the expense of the suspended Will James, while there is a first start of season for Brett Deacon at the base of the scrum. Deacon's inclusion at No.8 sees Matt Cox move to the openside, where he fills the void left by injured flanker Andy Hazell (thumb). In the backs, Freddie Burns gets the nod at fly-half ahead of Tim Taylor, while Henry Trinder is preferred to Jonny May in midfield.
Key Battle: Nick Evans should be in New Zealand right know, vying for the All Blacks No.10 jersey with Dan Carter. However, the NZRU's selection policy has dictated otherwise. Still, the All Blacks' loss is Harlequins gain. He has made a fine start to the new season and will be confident of giving Gloucester youngster Burns a lesson in the art of out-half play.
Trivia: Gloucester's James Simpson-Daniel has scored more tries than any other player in this fixture, having notched nine times in total.
Stats: The two sides have met 30 times in total in the top flight, with Gloucester currently edging it by 17 wins to 13.
"I am very disappointed to miss the World Cup after spending so long in the squad. But I am fortunate to be in such a wonderful club, where you are lifted and supported when your chin is down."
"We need to make sure that we get our intensity right and we have to play smartly. They're good at quick taps and counter-attacks so the mental side is very important for us."
Prediction: Quins appear to be on a roll at the moment so expect them to maintain their 100 percent start to the season with a hard-fought win.
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