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Harlequins set sights on last-eight berth in Challenge Cup

Harlequins will reach this season's European Challenge Cup quarter-finals on Saturday if they claim a bonus-point victory against Edinburgh.

A five-point maximum would put Quins out of sight in Pool Five, but they will go into battle at the Twickenham Stoop minus two recent injury victims.

Fly-half Nick Evans (wrist) and prop Will Collier (ankle) were hurt during last Saturday's Aviva Premiership victory over Sale, with Tim Swiel taking the number 10 shirt and Kyle Sinckler packing down in the front row this weekend.

"We are very much looking forward to returning to our European campaign," Quins rugby director John Kingston said.

"The hurt of losing in the (Challenge Cup) final last season still lies with the squad.

"We are well aware of the threat that Edinburgh pose, but we will be doing everything we can to take major steps towards the knockout stages."

Gloucester are guaranteed to top their group if they claim bonus-point wins against remaining Pool One opponents Treviso on Saturday, followed by already-eliminated Bayonne at Kingsholm next week.

And rugby director David Humphreys has made just two changes to the side that ran in seven tries against Premiership opponents Worcester six days ago, with full-back James Hook replacing Tom Marshall and prop John Afoa taking over from Salesi Ma'afu.

Gloucester defence coach Jonny Bell said: "I know quite a bit about Treviso. They are a strong side, especially at home.

"We know that when you go over there, you have to be physical, you have to muscle up and you have to get your detail right. We are fully focused on getting the result we need.

"It's a cliche, but we can only take care of our own business. We have to get our own shop in order and respect Treviso at home and get the job done, first and foremost."

Welsh challengers the Ospreys, meanwhile, will reach the last eight if they avoid defeat against Liberty Stadium visitors Lyon on Sunday, having so far collected a maximum 20 points from four starts.

"We've put ourselves in a strong position in the pool with our performances over the first four rounds, but now it's important that we finish the job off," Ospreys head coach Steve Tandy said.

"There has been a lot spoken and written this week about records, wins in a row, bonus points, whatever, but that is all just noise coming from outside of our environment.

"Lyon are not going to just allow us to have our own way. They are still in this competition with two rounds to go, and they will want to take it to the last day at home to Grenoble to give themselves a real chance of progressing.

"What we've seen over the last month or so is that we can win in different ways. We've got the character to slug it out if needs be, or we can be more expansive if the game allows us to."


From Belfast Telegraph