Planet Rugby

Preview: Harlequins v London Irish

10th February 2012 12:21

Share:

George Robson Harlequins

George Robson: Leads Harlequins in the absence of Chris Robshaw

Harlequins return to Aviva Premiership action at the Stoop for the first time since beating Newcastle at the end of November, welcoming London Irish in the reverse fixture from the London Double Header.

From last week's high scoring encounter with Cardiff Blues, Ross Chisholm continues at full-back alongside Sam Smith and the returning Tom Williams.

Matt Hopper returns from England Saxons duty to partner Tom Casson in the centre, outside Nick Evans and Danny Care at half-back.

Mark Lambert, Joe Gray and James Johnston all return to provide the scrum foundation. Olly Kohn partners George Robson again in the second row, with Robson taking over the captaincy from Chris Robshaw who will lead England in Rome.

Tom Guest, Luke Wallace and Nick Easter link up in the back row.

The bench sees Chris Brooker, Tim Fairbrother and Aston Croall ready to make an impact in the front row with Tomas Vallejos and Will Skinner providing back-up in the second row and back row respectively.

Karl Dickson comes on the bench providing specialist cover at scrum-half continuing his return from injury, with Rory Clegg and George Lowe - himself continuing his own return from injury - covering the rest of the backline.

Meanwhile, London Irish head coach Toby Booth has made five changes from the side that beat Gloucester last weekend.

Topsy Ojo returns to the wing with Jonathan Joseph partnering Shontayne Hape in the centres. David Paice and Faan Rautenbach return to the front row with Kieran Roche named in the back row alongside Richard Thorpe and Matt Garvey.

"It is important that we continue the momentum we gained from last weekend and play with the attacking intent we have shown in recent weeks," said Booth.

"Points are crucial at this time of the season as we continue to push for a play-off position. The players have prepared well this week despite the weather and are ready for the contest."

Form: Harlequins have slipped to three successive defeats in all competitions but have not lost four in a row since January 2010. Quins' only win in their last four home games was 20-14 over Gloucester in the Heineken Cup on 14 January. London Irish ended a three game losing streak with their 23-15 victory at home to Gloucester in the Anglo-Welsh Cup on Saturday. The Exiles' solo win on the road in the Aviva Premiership this season was 14-13 at Northampton in round three. Harlequins have already beaten London Irish twice this season: 29-24 in the Premiership at Twickenham in September and 26-19 at Twickenham Stoop in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in October. The Exiles have not won at the Stoop since the Premiership semi-final in May 2009.

The teams:

Harlequins: 15 Ross Chisholm, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Sam Smith, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Tom Guest, 5 George Robson (c), 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Mark Lambert
Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Aston Croall, 18 Tim Fairbrother, 19 Tomas Vallejos, 20 Will Skinner, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 George Lowe.

London Irish: 15 Tom Homer, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Shontayne Hape, 11 Sailosi Tagicakibau, 10 Dan Bowden, 9 Darren Allinson, 8 Richard Thorpe, 7 Kieran Roche, 6 Matt Garvey, 5 Bryn Evans, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 2 David Paice, 1 Clarke Dermody (c).
Replacements: 16 Brian Blaney, 17 Max Lahiff, 18 Paulica Ion, 19 Ed Siggery, 20 Marland Yarde, 21 Delon Armitage, 22 Adrian Jarvis, 23 Ross Samson.

Date: Saturday, February 11
Venue: The Stoop
Kick-off: 14:00
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth

Forthcoming Fixtures
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 18
Harlequins vs LeicesterHarlequins vs Leicester Preview
Saturday , April 19
Exeter vs Sale15:00
Bath vs Worcester15:00
Wasps vs Gloucester15:15
Sunday , April 20
Northampton vs London Irish14:00
Newcastle vs Saracens15:00
More Aviva Premiership fixtures
RaboDirect PRO12
Friday , April 18
Leinster vs Benetton TrevisoLeinster vs Benetton Treviso Preview
Glasgow vs UlsterGlasgow vs Ulster Preview
Saturday , April 19
Zebre vs Edinburgh14:30
Connacht vs Munster18:15
Sunday , April 20
Cardiff Blues vs Scarlets14:00
Newport Gwent D'gons vs Ospreys16:45
More RaboDirect PRO12 fixtures
Top 14
Friday , April 18
Castres vs MontpellierCastres vs Montpellier Preview
Saturday , April 19
Oyonnax vs Toulouse14:55
Perpignan vs Toulon17:00
Grenoble vs Bayonne18:30
Biarritz vs Brive18:30
Racing Metro Paris vs Clermont AuvergneRacing Metro Paris vs Clermont Auvergne Preview
Stade Francais vs Bordeaux-Begles20:35
More Top 14 fixtures
Super Rugby
Friday , April 18
Hurricanes vs BluesHurricanes vs Blues Preview
Melbourne Rebels vs Western Force19:40
Saturday , April 19
Chiefs vs Crusaders19:35
Waratahs vs Bulls19:00
Sharks vs Cheetahs15:00
Stormers vs Lions17:05
More Super Rugby fixtures
Recent Results
FixtureDetails
All times are local
Aviva Premiership
Sunday , April 13
Saracens 28 - 24 NorthamptonSaracens vs Northampton Report
London Irish 40 - 12 NewcastleLondon Irish vs Newcastle Report
Saturday , April 12
Worcester 33 - 38 ExeterWorcester vs Exeter Report
Leicester 27 - 15 WaspsLeicester vs Wasps Report
Gloucester 17 - 18 BathGloucester vs Bath Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Benetton Treviso 45 - 27 Newport Gwent D'gonsBenetton Treviso vs Newport Gwent D
Scarlets 27 - 20 ZebreScarlets vs Zebre Report
Munster 5 - 22 GlasgowMunster vs Glasgow Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Bordeaux-Begles 20 - 22 ToulonBordeaux-Begles vs Toulon Report
Toulouse 16 - 9 BriveToulouse vs Brive Report
Grenoble 30 - 36 Montpellier
Perpignan 22 - 12 Oyonnax
Bayonne 24 - 19 Stade Francais
Racing Metro Paris 37 - 7 Biarritz
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Chiefs 22 - 16 Melbourne RebelsChiefs vs Melbourne Rebels Report
Western Force 28 - 16 WaratahsWestern Force vs Waratahs Report
Lions 12 - 25 SharksLions vs Sharks Report
Cheetahs 31 - 52 CrusadersCheetahs vs Crusaders Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership
Friday , April 11
Sale Sharks 12 - 27 HarlequinsSale Sharks vs Harlequins Report
More Aviva Premiership results
RaboDirect PRO12
Ulster 58 - 12 ConnachtUlster vs Connacht Report
Edinburgh 22 - 29 Cardiff BluesEdinburgh vs Cardiff Blues Report
Ospreys 25 - 19 LeinsterOspreys vs Leinster Report
More RaboDirect PRO12 results
Top 14
Clermont Auvergne 23 - 11 CastresClermont Auvergne vs Castres Report
More Top 14 results
Super Rugby
Highlanders 27 - 20 BullsHighlanders vs Bulls Report
Reds 20 - 23 BrumbiesReds vs Brumbies Report
More Super Rugby results
Aviva Premiership Table
PosTeamPPts
1Saracens1976
2Northampton1966
3Leicester Tigers1963
4Bath1959
5Harlequins1954