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Preview: Gloucester v Harlequins

Preview: Gloucester v Harlequins

James Hook took the game away from Bath Rugby with his boot last Friday and Harlequins hooker Joe Gray says his team must make sure he doesn’t inspire Gloucester Rugby to victory again.

Gloucester are still on the outside looking in as the top half is concerned but their only defeat in their last four fixtures in all competitions was against Leicester Tigers – by a solitary point.

Meanwhile Harlequins have hit a bump in the road after such an impressive start to the season, losing three on the spin following a painful last-gasp loss to Northampton Saints last weekend.

The defeat came after a critical Ben Botica error and Gray admits Harlequins can ill-afford to hand Gloucester any easy opportunities at Kingsholm on Saturday.

“We have to be careful against Gloucester, especially at Kingsholm as they’re one of those teams where the crowd can be a huge factor,”

“If you let James Hook come into it with his kicking then it’s going to become a long day. So limiting the penalties is one thing we’ve been looking at, we don’t want to give soft points anyway – discipline is crucial this week.

“They are strong over the ball and will try and target you with turnovers. We’ve got to be clinical in everything we do.”

The two sides drew 39-all in front of over 70,000 fans at Twickenham in the 'Big Game' in December, their first tie in competitive rugby since a 9-9 scoreline at the same venue in the old Division One in November 1987. 

Matt Kvesic, man of the match at Rugby HQ earlier this year, has been released by England to take his usual place at openside for the Cherry and Whites.

But Gloucester lock Tom Savage says Harlequins have the type of experience to cause trouble in the West Country.

“It is good to respect your opposition, they have their leaders playing every week – Nick Evans in the backs and Nick Easter in the forwards – and we have to contain them to get any sort of momentum,” he said.

“They play a really good brand of rugby with those players and you can’t count them out.

“You can’t really tell how it is going to go. I suppose it depends a bit on the weather, there are blue skies now, but we could see all the seasons before the weekend. All we know is that it is going to be a tough game." 

(Kingsholm, 3pm)
Referee: Wayne Barnes (163rd Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Paul Burton & Simon McConnell. TMO: David Grashoff.

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