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Preview: London Irish v Harlequins

26th October 2012 10:43

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SKY_MOBILE Declan Danaher London Irish

250th game for Exiles: Declan Danaher

Declan Danaher will make his 250th appearance for London Irish in Sunday's Premiership clash against Harlequins at Madejski Stadium.

Declan will captain the side from the back-row alongside Jamie Gibson and Chris Hala'ufia. The Exiles record try-scorer, Topsy Ojo, will start in the back-three along with Sailosi Tagicakibau and Anthony Watson, who will start a Premiership match for the first time.

"Sunday will mark a great milestone for one of London Irish's finest warriors when Declan Danaher pulls on the London Irish jersey for the 250th time," said London Irish Director of Rugby Brian Smith.

"It's an incredible feat of endurance and courage. It will be a tough afternoon for Dec and the boys; we can expect a thorough examination in all departments as Harlequins have a strong pack and some extremely dangerous backline players. Whilst we have a healthy respect for our opponents, we have faith in each other and the belief that we can beat any team in this league."

Meanwhile, there are three changes to the Harlequins side which defeated Connacht in Galway last week. In the backs, Ugo Monye returns from injury to start on the wing, while Tom Casson will make his first senior appearance of the season, replacing Jordan Turner-Hall in the centres.

Turner-Hall had 120mls of blood drained from his knee prior to playing Connacht last week and has been given this weekend off. The centre will join the England squad on Sunday and will be fit to train fully next week.

Ben Botica continues at fly-half with Nick Evans expected to return next week.

In the forwards, Tom Guest swaps with Maurie Fa'asavalu to start alongside captain, Chris Robshaw and Nick Easter in the back-row.

Form: London Irish have won four of their last five games in all competitions, and have been victorious in their last three home games at Madejski Stadium. The Exiles beat table-topping Northampton, 37-19, in round six and gained their first try bonus point of the season in the process. Harlequins have made a 100% winning start to their European Cup campaign, but have been defeated in their last two Aviva Premiership Rugby encounters against Saracens and Exeter. Quins have not lost three in a row in this tournament since the 2009/10 season. The two clubs met on three occasions in all competitions last term with Quins triumphant each time. Harlequins have not won a Premiership game at Madejski Stadium since February 2009.

Rugby Union betting odds

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Anthony Watson, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Guy Armitage, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Ian Humphreys, 9 Tomás O'Leary, 8 Chris Hala'ufia 7 Jamie Gibson, 6 Declan Danaher (c), 5 Matt Garvey, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Halani Aulika, 2 David Paice, 1 Max Lahiff.
Replacements: 16 Scott Lawson, 17 Cai Griffiths, 18 Leo Halavatau, 19 Kieran Low, 20 Ofisa Treviranus, 21 Alex Gray, 22 Steven Shingler, 23 Darren Allinson.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Ben Botica, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (capt), 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Seb Stegmann.

Date: Sunday, October 28
Kick-off: 14:15 GMT
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Assistant referees: Stuart Terheege, Roy Maybank
Television match official: Graham Hughes
Timekeeper: Roy Marfleet
Assessor: Ed Morrison

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PosTeamPPts
4Saracens724
5Wasps720
6Harlequins718
7Sale Sharks716
8Gloucester716