The Premiership resumes on Friday with two matches taking place as Harlequins take on Gloucester and Newcastle Falcons host Exeter Chiefs.
Harlequins v Gloucester
Harlequins welcome back internationals Tommy Allan and Andre Esterhuizen to their starting line-up this week to face Gloucester at the Twickenham Stoop.
Esterhuizen is reunited with centre partner Joe Marchant, while Allan links back up with the talismanic Danny Care in the half-back department.
Nick David returns to start at full-back having completed his World Rugby Coaching Intervention Programme (CIP) to become available for this fixture, paired in the back three by wings Cadan Murley and Josh Bassett.
There are three changes to the forwards from the team that claimed a historic 73-29 victory over the Barbarians seven days ago. Hooker Jack Walker starts his first game since returning from injury, while prop Joe Marler moves into the starting line-up after scoring from his appearance as a replacement against the Baa-baas.
A final change to the pack sees lock Dino Lamb start alongside Irne Herbst in the engine room.
Meanwhile, Gloucester have been boosted by the return of the majority of their international stars, including Louis Rees-Zammit, for the fixture against Harlequins.
Prop Val Rapava-Ruskin returns, after being away with England for the start of the Autumn Nations Series, and then illness. Santiago Socino and Fraser Balmain complete the front-row.
Matias Alemanno featured in all of Argentina’s autumn games and joins Freddie Clarke in the second-row for the Cherry and Whites.
Captain Lewis Ludlow and Ruan Ackermann start in the back-row with Ben Morgan at number eight.
In the backline Charlie Chapman starts at scrum-half with Pumas fly-half Santiago Carreras outside him.
Carreras has predominantly been used as a back-three player by head coach George Skivington, but has impressed at number 10 for Argentina this year.
Billy Twelvetrees is partnered with the returning Scotland international Chris Harris in the centres.
Young Jake Morris keeps his spot on the left wing after his brace against Bristol in the Premiership Rugby Cup. Rees-Zammit returns on the opposite wing, with Lloyd Evans dropping from fly-half to full-back.
Six of the eight substitutes are Gloucester Rugby Academy graduates.
Jack Singleton and Stephen Varney return from their international sides and Jake Polledri is set to make his first appearance in the Premiership after nearly two years due to injury.
Harry Elrington, Ciaran Knight, Cam Jordan, Jack Reeves and George Barton completed the team.
Form: Harlequins have won their last two Premiership Rugby fixtures, at Sale and at home to London Irish, and have not won three in succession in the competition since April. Harlequins have been defeated in two of their last four home games at the Twickenham Stoop in Premiership Rugby. Gloucester have lost their last two Premiership Rugby matches, at Sale and at home to Newcastle. Gloucester have won twice away from home in Premiership Rugby this campaign, at Bath in Round Five and at London Irish in Round Seven. The Londoners have won their last six encounters with Gloucester in Premiership Rugby since Gloucester’s 29-7 victory at the Stoop in March 2019. Gloucester have won only once at the Stoop in Premiership Rugby since 2006.
Harlequins: 15 Nick David, 14 Cadan Murley, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Andre Esterhuizen, 11 Josh Bassett, 10 Tommy Allan, 9 Danny Care, 8 Alex Dombrandt (c), 7 Will Evans, 6 Jack Kenningham, 5 Irne Herbst, 4 Dino Lamb, 3 Wilco Louw, 2 Jack Walker, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 George Head, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Simon Kerrod, 19 George Hammond, 20 Archie White, 21 Lewis Gjaltema, 22 Will Edwards, 23 Luke Northmore
Gloucester: 15 Lloyd Evans, 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Billy Twelvetrees, 11 Jake Morris, 10 Santiago Carreras, 9 Charlie Chapman, 8 Ben Morgan, 7 Lewis Ludlow, 6 Ruan Ackermann, 5 Matias Alemanno, 4 Freddie Clarke, 3 Fraser Balmain, 2 Santiago Socino, 1 Val Rapava-Ruskin
Replacements: 16 Jack Singleton, 17 Harry Elrington, 18 Ciaran Knight, 19 Cam Jordan, 20 Jake Polledri, 21 Stephen Varney, 22 George Barton, 23 Jack Reeves
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Wayne Barnes
Assistant referees: Craig Maxwell-Keys, James Clarke
TMO: Stuart Terheege
Newcastle Falcons v Exeter Chiefs
Argentina internationals Mateo Carreras and Matias Moroni are among the returning stars for Newcastle Falcons when they host Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership.
The Pumas pair are joined by USA lock Greg Peterson in coming back from their international commitments, with the Falcons looking to kick on from the 27-21 away win they achieved on their last league outing at Gloucester.
Brett Connon continues at fly-half after kicking five from five in the Kingsholm clash, Ben Stevenson starting on the right wing. Carl Fearns returns from a knee injury to start at number eight, with scrum-half Michael Young once again captaining the side.
Sean Robinson and Adam Radwan are among the replacements following their midweek release from England’s training squad, with Matias Orlando also on the bench having played a full 80 minutes for Argentina against Scotland last Saturday.
Meanwhile, Rob Baxter has challenged his Exeter Chiefs side to meet the threat of Newcastle Falcons ‘head on’ when the two clash on Friday.
In what is the longest domestic trip of the season for the Chiefs, the visitors will arrive at Kingston Park looking to build on their victory against London Irish last time out.
That success ended a three-game losing streak for the Devonians, who sit sixth in the current standings having played eight games so far this term.
Team news for the Chiefs sees the visitors buoyed by the return of skipper Jack Yeandle to the front-row, as well as Christ Tshiunza, who is back from international duty to take his place at openside.
In the back division, Ian Whitten will run out for his 200th Premiership appearance for the club in the centre.
The Northern Irishman is the sole change to the Exeter backs, replacing Rory O’Loughlin who is out with a groin issue.
On the bench, Tongan international Solomone Kata also returns after featuring in recent Autumn clashes against Spain, Chile and Uruguay.
Form: Newcastle Falcons‘ 27-21 victory at Gloucester in Round 10 ended a run of three successive defeats in Premiership Rugby. Newcastle’s only victory at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby in 2022 was when they beat Bristol Bears there on September 30. Exeter Chiefs beat London Irish 22-17 in Round 10 to end a three-game losing streak in Premiership Rugby. The Chiefs’ only victory in their last four away games in Premiership Rugby was 50-14 at Bristol on October 7. Exeter have lost only once to Newcastle in any competition since January 2018 and that was by a solitary point at Sandy Park in November 2021. Exeter’s record at Kingston Park in Premiership Rugby is won eight, lost two.
Newcastle: 15 Elliott Obatoyinbo, 14 Ben Stevenson, 13 Matias Moroni, 12 Tom Penny, 11 Mateo Carreras, 10 Brett Connon, 9 Michael Young (c), 8 Carl Fearns, 7 Guy Pepper, 6 Callum Chick, 5 Sebastian de Chaves, 4 Greg Peterson, 3 Richard Palframan, 2 George McGuigan, 1 Logovi’i Mulipola
Replacements: 16 Jamie Blamire, 17 Adam Brocklebank, 18 Mark Tampin, 19 Sean Robinson, 20 Freddie Lockwood, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Adam Radwan, 23 Matias Orlando
Exeter: 15 Josh Hodge, 14 Dan John, 13 Sean O’Brien, 12 Ian Whitten, 11 Olly Woodburn, 10 Joe Simmonds, 9 Jack Maunder, 8 Jacques Vermeulen, 7 Christ Tshiunza, 6 Lewis Pearson, 5 Dafydd Jenkins, 4 Ruben Van Heerden, 3 Harry Williams, 2 Jack Yeandle (c), 1 Alec Hepburn
Replacements: 16 Dan Frost, 17 Scott Sio, 18 Patrick Schickerling, 19 Jack Dunne, 20 Dave Ewers, 21 Sam Maunder, 22 Will Becconsall, 23 Solomone Kata
Venue: Kingston Park
Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
Referee: Karl Dickson
Assistant referees: Neil Chivers, Jamie Leahy
TMO: Rowan Kitt
READ MORE: Premiership: Sam Simmonds happy with decision to leave Exeter for Montpellier
The article Premiership: Louis Rees-Zammit and Andre Esterhuizen among returning internationals as two games take place on Friday appeared first on Planetrugby.com.