Preview: Harlequins v Newcastle

Date published: March 12 2011

Friday sees Quins turn their attention back to the LV= Cup and a must-win semi-final against northern rivals, Newcastle.

Friday sees Harlequins turn their attention back to the LV= Cup and a must-win semi-final against northern rivals, Newcastle Falcons.

The two sides met only last week in the Aviva Premiership, the Falcons turning in a superb second-half performance to win 33-18.

The success came just five days after the Falcons had clinically dispatched relegation rivals Leeds Carnegie at Headingley and Newcastle will travel south in good spirits.

However the Londoners have beaten Newcastle twice at home already this season, winning 23-12 in the Premiership on October 2 and 28-20 six weeks later, in the pool stages of the LV= Cup.

In team news, Quins fans will be delighted to welcome back Karl Dickson and George Lowe from injury to the starting line-up with Gonzalo Camacho returning to the bench.

It has been a difficult couple of weeks for the London side but the return of these key members to the squad from injury sees the beginning of Quins' injury problems ease.

The club has seen a number of young players step up and put in some impressive personal performances, showing the spirit within the young squad.

There are a handful of changes to the side that played Newcastle last week. Joe Marler and John Andress link either side of Matt Cairns in the front row, with Ollie Kohn and Pete Browne in the second row. Maurie Fa'asavalu, Will Skinner and captain Chris Robshaw make up the back row.

The return of Karl Dickson and George Lowe from injury sees Dickson renew his previously successful 9-10 partnership with Rory Clegg and Lowe return to join Jordan Turner-Hall in the centre, allowing Ugo Monye to regain his favoured position on the wing.

Tom Williams and Mike Brown retain their positions on the wing and full-back respectively.

A win against Newcastle this weekend would see Quins in their first final since 2004.

Their impressive home record, which sees the London side undefeated since the first home game of the season, makes the Stoop a daunting prospect for any side.

Meanwhile, Newcastle Falcons head coach Alan Tait has rotated his back division for Friday's LV= Cup semi-final showdown.

Alex Tait makes the switch to full-back while Danny Williams and Gcobani Bobo both get a chance to impress on the wing. The Falcons pack remains strong with New Zealander Brent Wilson retaining his position at flanker.

The Falcons put Harlequins to the sword last week with a 33-18 victory in front of a vocal Kingston Park crowd.

Newcastle centre Luke Eves, believes his side has what it takes to triumph in the capital.

“We got our tactics pretty much spot-on last Friday, but we will be throwing a few new things in this time round,” he said.

“Quins will know a bit more of what we are about, and will have analysed the video of Friday's game, so we just have to freshen it up and keep them guessing to a certain extent.

“That's always the case when you play teams back-to-back, and there will be one or two new bits chucked in there just to mix it up.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 George Lowe, 12 Jordan Turner Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Rory Clegg, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Chris Robshaw, 7 Will Skinner, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 Pete Browne, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 John Andress, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 Mark Lambert, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Chris York, 21 Dave Moore, 22 Benjamin Urdapilleta.

Newcastle: 15 Alex Tait, 14 Danny Williams, 13 Luke Eves, 12 James Fitzpatrick, 11 Gcobani Bobo, 10 Jimmy Gopperth9 Micky Young, 8 Ally Hogg, 7 Brent Wilson, 6 Tim Swinson, 5 Andrew Van der Heijden, 4 James Hudson, 3 Euan Murray, 2 Matt Thompson, 1 Jon Golding
Replacements: 16 Rob Vickers, 17 Grant Shiells, 18 Kieran Brookes, 19 Filipo Levi, 20 Mark Wilson, 21 Hall Charlton, 22 Tane Tu'ipulotu, 23 Tom Catterick.

Date: Friday, 11 March
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Kick-off: 20:00 GMT
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)
Assistant referees: Rob Debney (England), Roy Maybank (England)