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Preview: Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Gloucester Rugby

Gloucester Rugby’s Nick Wood is hopeful that his side can transfer their performance from last weekend’s European victory over Connacht into their round 19 Aviva Premiership Rugby encounter with Harlequins.

The Kingsholm outfit have only won once in their last five league matches but overcame the Irish club 14-7 to progress to their first European semi-final since 2006. 

They travel to the Stoop having lost three away matches in a row, but they have not lost four in succession on the road since September 2013.

And Wood, the loose-head prop, believes that their European form can help to stop the rot which the Cherry & Whites have been in.

The 32-year-old said: “I think sometimes in big matches like a quarter-final the mentality takes care of itself and that’s what happened against Connacht.

“What we need to do is reproduce that against Harlequins. The boys and the club have big aspirations but this is a new squad with new coaches and we’ve still got a positive attitude about the season.

“Of course Harlequins’ running rugby is one of their strengths but they’re also well drilled in their line-outs so that’s something we’ll be watching out for.

“It was always going to be difficult at the Stoop because we haven’t won there in 14 years but we’re working hard to turn those sorts of records around.

“Our performance in the last round against Sale just wasn’t good enough and it’s hard to put a finger on what went wrong.

“We were just five or six percent off the pace and we cannot do that this weekend against Harlequins.”

Harlequins also go in to the game in a poor run of from, having won only one of their last seven first team matches.

They have not achieved a season’s Premiership Rugby double against Gloucester since 1998/99, but lock Charlie Matthews is relishing the chance to break that run.

“It’s always a really lively affair against Gloucester and I really enjoy playing against them,” he said.

“There is a certain degree of them wanting to gain revenge for their defeat to us last time out. It seems a long time ago now but it was a great achievement to finally win at Kingsholm.

“Teams tend to get stronger as the season goes on as Gloucester have done so we will have to watch out, but we want to gain momentum, not only for the rest of this season but next season as well.”

(Twickenham Stoop, 3pm)
Referee: Luke Pearce (37th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Andrew Pearce & Kelvin Stewart. TMO: Rowan Kitt.

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