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Humphreys aims to get back on track

Gloucester director of rugby David Humphreys has urged his players to bounce back from successive defeats as they continue to negotiate a challenging period of the Aviva Premiership season.

The west country club have lost centre Billy Twelvetrees, wing Jonny May, number eight Ben Morgan and hooker Richard Hibbard to international duty for Friday's visit to Newcastle.

It has left Humphreys short of his headline acts as he seeks a reaction to league defeats by Saracens and Harlequins.

"We knew this stage of the season would be difficult with so many players on international duty and that was where the squad would be tested, but it's also about giving opportunities," Humphreys said.

"After the disappointment of our performance against Quins, there's an element of pressure.

"We all know we're in this game to win but at the same time, with the changes we have made, the players have an opportunity to lay down a marker for the next few weeks."

With London Welsh seemingly doomed to relegation even before Christmas has arrived, 11th-placed Newcastle appear safe.

Friday night's second fixture sees Harlequins host Sale Sharks knowing victory would propel them back into top-four contention following a shaky start to the season.

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