Harlequins v Gloucester preview: Team news, kick-off time, line-ups, odds and stats for the Aviva Premiership clash
Harlequins host Gloucester at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday: 16:30 kick-off
Quins have made 12 changes to their matchday squad
Greig laidlaw skippers a strong Gloucester line-up which features 12 internationals
Jamie Roberts will make his Premiership debut for Harlequins against Gloucester in the annual “Big Game” at Twickenham on Sunday.
Returning to the Premiership following back to back victories over Calvisano in the European Rugby Challenge Cup, Harlequins have made 12 changes to their matchday squad.
Mike Brown, George Lowe, Tim Visser, Nick Evans and captain Danny Care return to the backline as Jamie Roberts makes his Premiership debut.
In the forwards, Joe Marler, Will Collier, James Horwill, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter are named, with Dave Ward starting at hooker.
Care, Brown and Easter have played in every Big Game to date.
Meanwhile, the Cherry and Whites will be Captained by Greig laidlaw in a strong line-up which features 12 internationals in the starting XV.
Laidlaw will partner James Hook at half back and Billy Twelvetrees will line up alongside Bill Meakes in the midfield. The back three will feature Rob Cook, Jonny May and Charlie Sharples.
The front row will consist once again of Paddy McAllister, Richard Hibbard and John Afoa, while Jeremy Thrush and Mariano Galarza team up for the first time in the second row. The back row comprises Sione Kalamafoni, Matt Kvesic and Ben Morgan.
This is the eighth “Big Game” at Twickenham where Harlequins previous record is an even won three, drawn one, lost three.
Quins only defeat at home in any tournament since February was 26-27 to Bath in Premiership in May.
Harlequins loss to Northampton in last season’s “Big Game” ended a six game winning run in all tournaments at Twickenham Stadium.
Gloucester have lost just one of their last six encounters in all competitions: 3-15 at Northampton in Premiership Rugby on November 27.
The Cherry & Whites have lost on their last five visits to Twickenham Stadium since beating Northampton there in the final of the Powergen Cup in April 2003.
Harlequins recorded a Premiership Rugby double over Gloucester last season something that they had not achieved since 1998/99.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Harlequins: Marland Yarde
The 23-year-old joined Quins before the start of the 2014 season and has scored nine tries in 30 appearances since his move from London Irish. He will be their main threat for the hosts and if he can be at his best he could very well be the difference between the two teams.
Gloucester: Greig Laidlaw
Gloucester, the Challenge Cup holders, put themselves within touching distance of a home quarter-final last weekend when they set a tournament record of 13 straight wins, thanks largely to skipper Laidlaw, who delivered 22 points made up of a try and a peerless kicking display. They will need the Scotland Captain at his very best if they are to get anything against Quins
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Nick Easter, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 James Horwill, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Merrick, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Ross Chisholm
Gloucester: 15 Rob Cook, 14 Charlie Sharples, 13 Billy Meakes, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jonny May, 10 James Hook, 9 Greig Laidlaw (c), 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Matt Kvesic, 6 Sione Kalamafoni, 5 Mariano Galarza, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 John Afoa, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Paddy McAllister
Replacements: 16 Darren Dawidiuk, 17 Dan Murphy, 18 Paul Doran-Jones, 19 Tom Savage, 20 Jacob Rowan, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Billy Burns, 23 Henry Trinder
Date: Sunday, December 27
Kick-off: 16:30 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant Referees: Gregory Garner, Wayne Falla
TMO: Graham Hughes