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Preview: Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby

Freddie Burns couldn’t care less who is opposite him as Gloucester Rugby take on Harlequins in front of the Sky cameras on Saturday, insisting it makes no difference to the Cherry and Whites ultimate goal.

Gloucester head to the Stoop to take on a Quins side who returned to the top of the Aviva Premiership table thanks to a 31-28 victory of London Irish last time out.

And Conor O’Shea’s men did so without their talisman Nick Evans, the Kiwi nursing an ankle injury and sitting out the last two games.

In his absence Ben Botica, the son of former All Blacks and rugby league legend Frano Botica, has been in impressive form at fly-half and with Rory Clegg also waiting in the wings O’Shea is spoilt for choice.

But Burns isn’t having sleepless nights as to whether he will line up against Evans, Botica or Clegg at fly-half this weekend, adamant Gloucester can’t concentrate on just one position as they look to uphold their record as the only unbeaten side away from home this Aviva Premiership season.

"It doesn't make any difference who they have at ten to be honest – they are still a very high-quality side that have threats all over the field,” Burns said.

"They have the systems in place and the personnel as well, that potentially being without one player isn't going to be particularly damaging to them.

"In the same way that we have a squad that we trust, and our coaches and players trust everyone to come in and perform, then Quins are just the same as that.

"We've got to make sure that we treat them just the same whoever is out there, because one thing is for sure – they will be a very tough side to come up against.

"Everyone knows about Nick Evans' quality and he's a great player. But you cannot just concentrate on one player anyway, whoever that is, so whoever leads their line, we've just got to approach things the same as we always do."

Quins tripped up in their last game at the Stoop in the Aviva Premiership but have not lost successive home games since May 2011, with Gloucester not tasting victory there since September 2006.

And they received a boost ahead of the clash with the news that Evans had signed a new three-year deal with the club, keeping him with the reigning champions until the end of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership season.

"Myself and my family are happy to have the opportunity to stay at Harlequins,” Evans said.

“I'm looking forward to continuing to play with a great bunch of lads and to working with a special coaching staff.

“There is no limit to what this team can achieve and I am excited to have an influence both on and off the field.” 

Referee: Wayne Barnes (112th Premiership game)
Assistant Referees:Paul Dix, Robin Goodliffe. TMO: Geoffrey Warren
(Twickenham Stoop, 5.15pm) Live on SkySports HD

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