Andy Hazell - leading the way in the tackle count this season
Bruce Seabrook/GPA Images
ANDY HAZELL is the top tackler in the Guinness Premiership after five rounds of matches, figures from OPTA show.
After five rounds, the Gloucester openside has made 60 tackles, a staggering 12 per game and a total of eight more than another England hopeful, Saracens' Dave Seymour.
The top five is completed by three more back row players, Northampton Saints' Darren Fox and London Wasps' Joe Worsley on 42 tackles and Sale Sharks' Magnus Lund on 40.
Back row players were obviously eager to impress with the autumn internationals on the horizon, as London Wasps' Tom Rees carried for 126 metres in their match against Newcastle Falcons, the most of any player in round five. Rees was however just one metre ahead of his team mate Tom Voyce.
Following the Wasps duo were two men of the moment in the centre. Saracens' Ben Johnston made 115 metres in their victory over Bath Rugby, whilst Mathew Tait made 103 metres in Newcastle Falcons' defeat at Adams Park. Worcester Warriors' Lee Best completed the top five, making 93 metres against Gloucester Rugby.
Premier Rugby Chief Executive Mark McCafferty said: "The Guinness Premiership is really starting to take shape and players are starting to hit their straps just in time for the Heineken Cup. Players are also using the intensity of the Guinness Premiership to show Andy Robinson that they are worthy of consideration for the autumn internationals. I hope their club form carries into the Heineken Cup and European Challenge Cup matches this weekend."
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, Matt Kvesic was looking forward to the trip to Newcastle Falcons, and the captain is looking to lead from the front with plenty for the Cherry and Whites to work on.
Gloucester saw a 12-0 lead overturned by Harlequins on Friday night as the visitors ran out 22-15 winners. After the game, Director of Rugby David Humphreys spoke about missed opportunities on the night.
Speaking to the local media on Thursday, James Hudson explained his excitement for tonight's game with Harlequins and that he is backing the Cherry and White squad to impress during the next set of Aviva Premiership games.
20 year old Lewis Ludlow was one of Gloucester's young guns who contributed hugely to the 18-9 LV= Cup win at London Welsh on Sunday afternoon. After the game, he praised his team mates for the massive team effort by an inexperienced side.
There are three changes to Gloucester Rugby's starting line-up for Friday evening's Aviva Premiership fixture away at Newcastle Falcons. Steve McColl will make his first Premiership start for the club.