Gloucester host Leicester at Kingsholm on Saturday: 15:00 kick-off
England centre Manu Tuilagi misses out for Tigers because of a hamstring injury
The Cherry and Whites make seven changes to the side that beat Zebre last time
Round ten of the Aviva Premiership sees Gloucester’s top six credentials tested when they play host to second-placed Leicester Tigers at Kingsholm on Saturday.
The Cherry & Whites were the only side to conclude the pool phase of the European Challenge Cup-winning all six games and are unbeaten at home in all competitions since November.
However, they have only beaten the Tigers once in their last five meetings as the clubs meet for the 215th time with the first game taking place way back in 1892.
Tigers director of rugby Richard Cockerill told his clubs website, “They are a big and physical side and they’ve been strong at home, as you would expect.
“Gloucester are a very dangerous side, as you saw against Harlequins at Twickenham, where they scored good tries in an exciting game.
“They’ve got a big pack, they work hard and they’ll want to set a marker down against Leicester at Kingsholm and push on.”
Tigers, who currently sit second in the Aviva Premiership will be without Dan Cole and Ben Youngs who are with the England squad preparing for the opening match of the Six Nations Championship next weekend, while hooker Tom Youngs is serving a one-week suspension. England centre Manu Tuilagi also misses out for Leicester Tigers because of a hamstring injury.
Gloucester lead the win count between the pair with 106-100 wins with eight games drawn as Tigers look for a 28th win on their 106th trip to Kingsholm.
Willi Heinz starts at scrum half for Gloucester with Scotland captain Greg Laidlaw on the bench. Welshman James Hook starts at ten for the home side with England international Billy Twelvetrees starting in the centre.
Former Gloucester star Freddie Burns starts at fly-half for Leicester with Sam Harrison partnering him at scrum half.
The Cherry & Whites were the only side to conclude the pool phase of the European Challenge Cup winning all six games and are unbeaten at home in all competitions since November
Gloucester though have only beaten the Tigers – who currently sit second vin the table – once in their last five meetings
Leicester’s only defeat in the last five rounds of Premiership Rugby came on a visit to Saracens on January 2
Tigers have lost their last two away games in all tournaments but have not lost three in a row on the road since October 2014
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Gloucester: Billy Twelvetrees
Leicester: Matthew Tait
Gloucester: 15 Steve McColl, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Meakes, 12 Billy Twelvetrees (c), 11 David Halaifonua, 10 James Hook, 9 Willi Heinz, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Jacob Rowan, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Jeremy Thrush, 4 Tom Savage, 3 Paul Doran-Jones, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Nick Wood, 18 Nicky Thomas, 19 Mariano Galarza, 20 Matt Kvesic, 21 Greig Laidlaw, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Mark Atkinson
Leicester: 15 Tommy Bell, 14 Peter Betham, 13 Mathew Tait (c), 12 Matt Smith, 11 Telusa Veainu, 10 Freddie Burns. 9 Sam Harrison, 8 Lachlan McCaffrey, 7 Tom Croft, 6 Mike Fitzgerald, 5 Graham Kitchener, 4 Dom Barrow, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Greg Bateman, 1 Marcos Ayerza
Replacements: 16 Harry Thacker, 17 Riccardo Brugnara, 18 Logovi’i Mulipola, 19 Sebastian de Chaves, 20 Jordan Crane, 21 Jono Kitto, 22 Gonzalo Camacho, 23 Jack Roberts
Date: Saturday, January 30
Venue: Welford Road
Kick-off: 15:00 GMT
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant Referees: Ross Campbell, Nigel Carrick
TMO: Graham Hughes