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Harlequins and Gloucester set for enthralling encounter in front of record-breaking crowd

Harlequins face Gloucester for their annual ‘Big Game’ showpiece as they look to end 2023 in the top four.

Billy Millard’s men have had an inconsistent season so far, however their Twickenham visit could be the spark they need to reignite their season.

They currently sit in sixth place, and have only won one of their last three in all competitions. Whilst on paper this might seem worrying, they did come up against two of the form teams in the world right now in Toulouse and Bath.

Quins are still within reach of the top four, as they are just two points behind forth placed Exeter, and will be licking their lips at the chance to rectify the wrongs of the last few weeks in front of the 75,000 strong crowd at Rugby HQ.

In team news, Millard has gone all out for this showpiece event.

Joe Marler, Jack Walker and Will Collier will continue their fine work in the front-row. Joe Launchbury and Stephan Lewies will again partner up in the second-row, and Dino Lamb, Will Evans and captain Alex Dombrant form a tasty looking back-row unit.

The back division also has a sprinkle of stardust this week, with the half-back partnership of Danny Care and Marcus Smith grabbing the headlines this week.

Andre Esterhuizen and Oscar Beard will look to cause plenty of problems for the Gloucester defence as they start in the centres, and Tyrone Green is named at full-back.

Cameron Anderson and Nick David complete the starting line-up.

For the visitors, they will be hoping a difficult 2023 ends on a high note at the home of Rugby.

Gloucester began 2023 in poor form, and this has carried over into this season. They sit in ninth in the table, and haven’t won a Premiership game since October, but there is hope for George Skivington’s men.

The Cherry and Whites ground out two brilliant wins in the Challenge Cup, as they saw off Black Lion and Clermont. Furthermore, they have pushed some of the big boys close recently, including their narrow defeat to Northampton last weekend. This showed they can compete with the very best teams in the Premiership, but they will be hoping they can finally get over the line and spoil the Quins party in the capital.

Skivington has also named a strong looking squad for their visit to Twickenham.

The exciting back three combination of Santi Carreras, Louis Reece-Zammit and Ollie Thorley will look to threaten the Quins line. Chris Harris and Seb Atkinson are named in the centres, and Stephen Varney and Adam Hastings complete the starting back division.

Turning attention to the pack, Jamal Ford-Robinson, George McGuigan and Kirill Gotovtsev all start in the front-row. Freddie Clarke and Matias Alemanno line up in the engine room, and Ruan Ackermann, skipper Lewis Ludlow and x-factor number eight Zach Mercer form a tasty looking back-row for the Cherry and Whites.