Chris Ashton returns to the Harlequins starting XV ahead of Sunday’s Premiership clash with Gloucester at Kingsholm. 

The former England international full-back will be making his first start of the season against the Cherry and Whites, having missed the opening two rounds of the current campaign.  

The 33-year-old takes the place of Mike Brown in the starting lineup and will line up alongside wingers Cadan Murley and Nathan Earle.  

Ashton’s return has been warmly welcomed by head coach Paul Gustard, who expects him to make his mark on his comeback to the side.   

“It’s great to see Chris Ashton return from injury this week. We’re looking forward to seeing him play in the absence of one of our standout performers last week in Mike Brown, who is rested this week against Gloucester,” Gustard said. 

“A trip to Kingsholm is always a great place to play rugby. Gloucester have a lot of talent, a lot of good players, and we’re very much looking forward to facing them on Sunday.” 

Quins make the journey west off the back of a resounding 49-29 victory over Northampton Saints last weekend, which saw them run in six tries at Franklin’s Gardens. 

It was the perfect response from the side that went down 33-3 on opening day to Exeter Chiefs, and they will be looking to continue to build this weekend ahead of the upcoming European break. 

Alex Dombrandt will once again skipper the side from No.8 on Sunday in the absence of club captain Stephan Lewies, while James Chisholm comes in for Tom Lawday, who drops to the bench. 

There is also a return to the squad for Elia Elia, with the Samoan star having served his suspension that followed on from the end of the previous campaign. 

Gustard said: “Stephan Lewies just misses out on selection this time around due to injury. In his absence, we felt that Alex [Dombrandt] did a magnificent job captaining the team in a good performance last weekend against Northampton Saints, so he will once again wear the captain’s arm band. 

“James Chisholm is rotated in at six for the outstanding Tom Lawday, who moves to the Impact Players on rotation as James continues his rehabilitation from the injury that ruled him out of the final two games of last season.”