Davies warns of 'strong' Quins

PA Sport
Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies expects a tough battle against Harlequins
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Gloucester rugby director Nigel Davies expects a tough battle against Harlequins

Gloucester will take an eight-match unbeaten record in all competitions to Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins on Saturday - but rugby director Nigel Davies insists the title holders are favourites.

The west country club's gripping victory over Leicester last weekend extended their impressive run to seven victories and a draw since Northampton toppled them on September 1.

And despite conceding a combined total of 130 points on their last three clashes against Quins at the Twickenham Stoop, Gloucester's form suggests they can carry realistic victory hopes with them to London, and Davies said: "Quins will be strong. You don't win this league without having a strong squad of players and they did it with some style last season."

He added: "They are the champions and will be favourites this weekend. We have just got to turn up with the same mentality we've had all season, to fight hard for the shirt and for each other. It is early days yet. There is a long way to go, but last weekend was a fabulous win for us against Leicester on what was a fabulous occasion.

"We focused on certain things at the start of the season, and one of those was to produce that bloody-mindedness to be able to win games and grind out results. They are not the most attractive things sometimes in the game, but you have to do them well in order to stay in games and get the result."

The Gloucester line-up also includes wing James Simpson-Daniel, whose blistering form has made many pundits wonder what England might be missing.

Northampton are affected by injuries for their east midlands derby clash against Leicester at Welford Road on Saturday. The absentees include Dylan Hartley, Courtney Lawes and Stephen Myler, while England calls mean scrum-half Lee Dickson and flanker Tom Wood are unavailable as Saints look to avoid a third successive defeat in all competitions.

Flanker Calum Clark, though, is back after serving a 32-week ban imposed for foul play against Leicester in last season's LV= Cup final.

Exeter will aim to end a run of three defeats - two in Europe and one Premiership loss - when they tackle Worcester at Sandy Park. Worcester will climb above Exeter if they win.

Sunday's Premiership action sees Bath visiting top-flight newcomers London Welsh, while Saracens play their first game at Vicarage Road in Watford since May when Wasps are the visitors.

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