Planet Rugby

Preview: London Irish v Harlequins

04th October 2013 12:15

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london irish v harlequins david paice mike brown

Charge: Mike Brown

George Skivington returns to the London Irish side for Saturday's Aviva Premiership match with Harlequins at the Madejski Stadium.

John Yapp makes his first start for London Irish in the front row alongside David Paice and Leo Halavatau. Skivington is joined in the second row by Kieran Low who moves forward from the back row with Blair Cowan, Ofisa Treviranus and Chris Hala'ufia making up the back row.

Tomás O'Leary and Shane Geraghty are named in the halves with Eamonn Sheridan and Fergus Mulchrone forming the centre partnership. Alex Lewington, Marland Yarde and Topsy Ojo make up the back three.

"We've had a good week in training and the boys are keen to bounce back from the loss last Saturday," said Exiles boss Brian Smith.

"Harlequins will provide another big test for us but we're ready for it and we'll fight with everything we've got to get the win."

Meanwhile, Harlequins have made three changes to the starting side that played Saracens at The Stoop last week.

Karl Dickson gets his opportunity to start alongside Sam Smith and Matt Hopper at scrum-half, right wing and outside centre respectively.

Hopper replaces George Lowe who is recovering from a knock sustained last weekend. Both Lowe and Tom Williams are expected to return for next week's Heineken Cup opener against the Scarlets.

In an unchanged forward pack, Nick Easter continues in the second row, with Tom Guest at number eight.

There are two changes to the replacements where Danny Care and Charlie Walker are named.

Form:

2012 Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins have suffered an indifferent start to the new campaign, narrowly seeing off London Wasps on the opening day of the season, before losing at home against Northampton Saints and Sarries, while also winning at struggling Worcester Warriors. All four of Harlequins' encounters this season have been won by the nominated away side on the day, in fact Quins' away form since the tail end of the 2011/12 season has seen them record only five defeats in their last 20 trips in all competitions. Harlequins have also won their last five encounters with the Exiles in all tournaments since London Irish beat their visitors 15-9 at Madejski Stadium in the Aviva Premiership in February 2011. London Irish have won just one Aviva Premiership rugby match this season: 20-18 away at Worcester in round two.

The teams:

London Irish: 15 Topsy Ojo, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Fergus Mulchrone, 12 Eamonn Sheridan, 11 Alex Lewington, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Tomás O'Leary (c), 8 Ofisa Treviranus, 7 Declan Danaher, 6 , 5 Kieran Low, 4 George Skivington, 3 Leo Halavatau, 2 David Paice, 1 John Yapp.
Replacements: 16 Jimmy Stevens, 17 Matt Parr, 18 Jamie Hagan, 19 Ian Gough, 20 Jebb Sinclair, 21 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 22 Myles Dorrian, 23 Darren Allinson.

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Sam Smith, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Easter, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 George Merrick, 20 Luke Wallace, 21 Danny Care, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Charlie Walker.

Date: Saturday, October 5
Kick-off: 15:00 BST
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Referee: David Rose
Assistant referees : Kevin Stuart and Roger Baileff
TMO: David Sainsbury

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