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Burns returns as Gloucester Rugby welcome Harlequins to Kingsholm

Billy Burns

Billy Burns is back at fly-half as Gloucester Rugby make four changes to their starting line-up with Harlequins the visitors to Kingsholm in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday afternoon (kick off 3pm).

Burns’ return is the only tweak to the back line as the Cherry and Whites make four changes to the starting line-up from the XV that started at Wasps last Sunday.

There are two new faces in the front row as Yann Thomas and John Afoa come in for Josh Hohneck and Paul Doran-Jones respectively, while Mariano Galarza starts in place of Tom Savage.

Saturday’s game has a lot riding on it as the competition for a top six finish, and automatic qualification for the Champions Cup, hots up with just six rounds of action remaining. Quins are currently in 7th place, three points and two places ahead of Gloucester.

The two teams have already met once this season, at Twickenham in Big Game 9 when Quins prevailed by 28 points to 24, and Head Coach Laurie Fisher told the local media this week that home advantage could play a big part.

“If both sides have aspirations of a top six finish, as we both do, then it’s a massively important game. We’re certainly looking at it in that light, it’s an absolute must win for us.

“We’re at Kingsholm which is fantastic. We’re at home, with the benefits that come with that. Hopefully if we turn up and play well, we get everybody on our side. It’s a hugely important game with two down weeks coming up so we have to get out there, empty the tank and give it everything.

“We know that we’ve got to be on the edge, there’s no doubt about that. Sometimes it’s easier at home when you know that you’ve 14,000 or 15,000 people on your side. If you give them something to cheer about, there’s a wave you can really ride home.

“But we’ve got to generate that, through our performance, through our passion, through our enthusiasm, through our skills, through our execution. If we provide that part of the deal, then we’ll have a lot of people there who will help us through the 80 minutes.”

Gloucester Rugby:

15. Tom Marshall; 14. Charlie Sharples, 13. Matt Scott, 12. Billy Twelvetrees, 11. David Halaifonua; 10. Billy Burns, 9. Willi Heinz (capt); 1. Yann Thomas, 2. Richard Hibbard, 3. John Afoa; 4. Mariano Galarza, 5. Jeremy Thrush; 6. Lewis Ludlow, 7. Jacob Rowan, 8. Ben Morgan

Replacements:

16. Motu Matu’u, 17. Josh Hohneck, 18. Paul Doran-Jones, 19. Tom Savage, 20. Sione Kalamafoni, 21. Callum Braley, 22. James Hook, 23. Henry Trinder

Unavailable for selection:

Salesi Ma’afu, Paddy McAllister, Gareth Evans, Greig Laidlaw, Mark Atkinson, Andy Symons, Jonny May, Ollie Thorley

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