Strettle wings in to bolster Quins
January 30, 2009
David Strettle makes his long-awaited return for Quins against Northampton © Getty Images
Harlequins host Northampton on Saturday, with a win for the visitors sending them above Quins in the Premiership table.
Quins have been bolstered by the return of England wing David Strettle to the starting line-up after a lengthy injury. Strettle comes in on the wing in place of Ugo Monye, who is away on England duty, his first start since October. South African hooker Gary Botha also returns to the starting line-up in pace of the injured Tani Fuga, while Andy Gomarsall deputises for England scrum-half Danny Care.
Having started at fullback against the Scarlets last week Nick Evans returns to fly-half, with Mike Brown returning at No.15. De Wet Barry slots in at outside-centre after injury ruled out Gonzalo Tiesi.
Should Saints register a win they can move above Quins in the table, but they have been dealt a blow with Scotland prop Euan Murray missing out due to a rib injury. Barry Stewart steps into his sizable boots while scrum-half Lee Dickson and wing Paul Diggin both return to the starting line-up.
The Saints will head into the game without Carlos Spencer after it was announced that the former All Black was to leave the club.
"Our home form has been good this season and now the target has to be to take that form away from home," said Saints boss Jim Mallinder. "There is no reason why we can't go away and get a win in any game. Just look at Montpellier a few weeks ago, going to France is never easy but we came away with the points.
"We just have to concentrate on our performance for 80 minutes and the results will come. Most importantly we can not afford to be complacent just because we have had a good January. The team will not be taking anything for granted this weekend."
Harlequins: Ceri Jones, Gary Botha, Mike Ross, Ollie Kohn, George Robson, Chris Robshaw, Will Skinner (capt), Tom Guest, Andy Gomarsall, Nick Evans, David Strettle, Jordan Turner-Hall, De Wet Barry, Tom Williams, Mike Brown
Replacements: Aston Croall, Mark Lambert, Jim Evans, Neil McMillan, Junior Polu, Chris Malone, Seb Stegmann
Northampton: Bruce Reihana (capt), Paul Diggin, Jon Clarke, James Downey, Sean Lamont, Stephen Myler, Lee Dickson, Soane Tonga'uiha, Paul Shields, Barry Stewart, Ignacio Fernandez Lobbe, Juandre Kruger, Mark Easter, Scott Gray, Mark Hopley
Replacements: Brett Sharman, Tom Smith, Courtney Lawes, Neil Best, Alan Dickens, Barry Everitt, Chris Mayor
Huw Richards profiles French forward Walter Spanghero, a man who even rugby's hard men thought was a tough nut
"To be part of the Commonwealth Games, I'd wear anything. I'd wear a clown suit." Tom Hamilton talks to Scotland's Sean Lamont
Scrum Sevens looks back at how rugby has fared in both the early Olympics and the past four Commonwealth Games
"Cheika's been phenomenal. He gives you an incredible level of mental strength." Tom Hamilton talks to Waratahs star Jacques Potgieter