Preview: Harlequins v Bristol

Date published: September 2 2016

Harlequins have announced their team to play Bristol in their London Double Header clash at Twickenham on Saturday.

Kicking off Harlequins’ 150th anniversary year with a visit to rugby HQ, Quins' new director of rugby John Kingston has Danny Care leading a side which includes seven Harlequins Academy graduates in the starting pack.

Care forms a halfback combination with ex All Blacks fly-half while Wales international Jamie Roberts lines up in midfield alongside Joe Marchant. 

Elsewhere in back-line Ross Chisholm is at full-back while England flyer Marland Yarde and Scotland Test counterpart Tim Visser start on the wings.

Speaking ahead of the fixture, Kingston said: “The squad is hugely excited to be playing at Twickenham Stadium once again, especially to kick off the new Aviva Premiership season and the club’s 150th year.

“We are determined to start the season positively and carry this momentum forward, but we know that we will be facing a well drilled Bristol outfit under the stewardship of Andy Robinson.”

Meanwhile, five Bristol players are set for their competitive debuts for the club on Saturday.

Will Hurrell, Soane Tonga’uiha, Jon Fisher and Jordan Crane all start, while Tusi Pisi recovers from a hand injury to be named in the backline.

Bristol director of rugby Andy Robinson hands Premiership debuts to Academy graduates Ryan Edwards and Ben Glynn in a line-up that includes seven full internationals.

“We’ve been building towards this opening game for a number of weeks and the focus and excitement around the camp to get started is palpable,” said Robinson.

“There’s consistency in our selection from the pre-season outings and we’re looking forward to seeing how our new arrivals play. It promises to be a fantastic atmosphere at Twickenham and we have to be ready to enjoy our surroundings and the environment.

“While we’re delighted to welcome Tusi into the starting line-up, Marc Jones (knee) and Luke Arscott (calf) miss out through injury.”

Form: Harlequins’ solitary defeat in their last nine Round 1 fixtures in the Premiership was 15-26 to Wasps at Twickenham in the 2009 London Double Header. ‘Quins have won their last four London Double Header encounters but did not participate in the event last season. Harlequins only appearance at Twickenham last season came in the “Big Game” over Christmas sharing a 39-all draw with Gloucester. Bristol return to the Premiership for the first time since they lost 3-73 to Leicester at the then Walkers Stadium in Round 22 of the 2008/09 campaign. Bristol’s only defeat in their last 17 RFU Championship matches came in leg two of last season’s final at home to Doncaster Knights. Bristol have not played at Twickenham since they efeated Waterloo there in the final of the Pilkington Challenge Cup in April 2004. Harlequins have won their last five Premiership fixtures against Bristol, the most recent of which being at Memorial Stadium in March 2009. The two clubs have met at Twickenham just once before, with Harlequins lifting the John Player Cup 28-22 in a game which also doubled up as part of the 1987/88 Division One campaign. 

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Jack Clifford, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill, 4 Sam Twomey, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler 
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Will Collier, 19 George Merrick, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Alofa Alofa

Bristol: 15 Jack Wallace, 14 Ryan Edwards, 13 Will Hurrell, 12 Gavin Henson, 11 Tom Varndell, 10 Tusi Pisi, 9 Will Cliff, 8 Jordan Crane, 7 Jack Lam (c), 6 Jon Fisher, 5 Ben Glynn, 4 James Phillips, 3 Gaston Cortes, 2 Ross McMillan, 1 Soane Tonga’uiha 
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Kyle Traynor, 18 Anthony Perenise, 19 Joe Joyce, 20 Olly Robinson, 21 Mitch Eadie, 22 Rhodri Williams, 23 Ben Mosses

Date: Saturday, September 3
Venue: Twickenham
Kick-off: 16:30 BST (15:30 GMT)
Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistant Referees: Greg Macdonald, Paul Dix
TMO: Rowan Kitt