Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v Wasps

14th November 2008 12:35

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Nick Evans Harlequins

Nick Evans: Back for derby clash

Nick Evans will run out in the number ten shirt for Harlequins once more this Sunday, when Quins take on Wasps at the Twickenham Stoop.

With Danny Care, Ugo Monye and Nick Easter all away on England duty, Andy Gomarsall, Seb Stegmann and Tom Guest will make the starting line up.

Gonzalo Tiesi and Tani Fuga are also absent from the squad due to international commitments, and will be replaced by Tosh Masson in the centre and Chris Brooker on the bench.

Unfortunately, a late fitness test on Mike Brown has confirmed the full-back unable to play and Tom Williams will move to the number 15 position.

Sunday's game against Wasps presents Evans with his first opportunity to really show the Quins fans, and the rest of the Premiership, what he is capable of, and he knows that the game is going to be very competitive.

"It's going to be my first experience of a derby match between the two big London clubs, but I can imagine the level of intensity the game is going to hit," he said.

I played in some pretty big games back home between Otago and Canterbury, and I'm really looking forward to the atmosphere these kinds of games generate, especially for my first game back."

Meanwhile, after a five-week break from Guinness Premiership action, Ian McGeechan has named a Wasps side littered with youth and experience ahead of Sunday's trip.

With nine players on international duty this weekend - eight to England and one to Ireland - McGeechan has called upon not only his experienced heads with Joe Worsley leading the side, but young guns Lachlan Mitchell and Mossy Lawler to help bolster his starting XV.

Making four personnel changes to the team that secured victory over the Dragons at Adams Park on the 2nd November, Lawler, who joined the club last month from Munster on contract with the men in black and gold until the end of the year, comes onto to the wing in place of Josh Lewsey who moves to centre to partner Mitchell in place of Rob Hoadley. Hoadley is named amongst the replacements alongside Dave Walder who switches with Jeremy Staunton, the latter starting at fly-half.

In the forwards, second row George Skivington comes into the starting line up to make his 2008/09 debut. He replaces Dan Leo who is named on the bench alongside Raphaël Ibañez and a host of Wasps young talents.

"We know the challenge that we face throughout the international period but as a club we are delighted for our nine players who will run out for their country this weekend," said McGeechan.

"Sunday's game will be a tough challenge as we face Harlequins - an in-form side who have played some good rugby this season - but we are looking forward to getting back to the Guinness Premiership competition."

Form: Harlequins have won three of their last four games in all competitions, and were victorious on their most recent match in the Guinness Premiership: 30-23 at Worcester on 2 October. London Wasps have won their last two games, against Newcastle and the Dragons in the EDF Energy Cup. Wasps' only victory in their five outings in the Guinness Premiership so far this season was 28-19 at Leicester on 26 September. Harlequins have won just one of their last seven encounters with Wasps: 26-25 at Twickenham Stoop on 20 October 2007.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Tom Williams, 14 Seb Stegmann, 13 Tosh Masson, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Andy Gomarsall, 8 Tom Guest, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Jim Evans, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Ceri Jones.

Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 George Robson, 19 Neil McMillan, 20 Junior Polul, 21 De Wet Barry, 22 Chris Malone.

Wasps: 15 Mark Van Gisbergen, 14 Mossy Lawler, 13 Josh Lewsey, 12 Lachlan Mitchell, 11 Tom Voyce, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Mark Robinson, 8 Joe Worsley (c), 7 Serge Betsen, 6 John Hart, 5 Richard Birkett, 4 George Skivington, 3 Pat Barnard, 2 Rob Webber, 1 Tim Payne.

Replacements: 16 Raphael Ibanez, 17 Tom French, 18 Dan Leo, 19 Hugo Ellis, 20 Joe Simpson, 21 Dave Walder. 22 Rob Hoadley.

Date: Sunday, November 16

Kick-off: 15.00 GMT

Venue: The Stoop

Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

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5Wasps411