Wasps and Quins eye winning start
September 3, 2010
Wasps' Simon Shaw takes the attack to Quins during their meeting at Twickenham last December © Getty Images
London Wasps and Harlequins will launch their bid to rejoin the Premiership's elite at Twickenham on Saturday in the second leg of the London Double Header.
Wasps dominated the Premiership stage for much of the last decade - claiming the title on four occasions - but they have not graced the semi-final stage since the 2007-08 season when they went to lift the English crown. Harlequins cannot boast such an impressive record but did reach the final four in the 2008-09 campaign - a season blighted by 'Bloodgate'.
London Wasps - Player to Watch: Riki Flutey makes his return to the Premiership stage in the Wasps No.10 shirt. All eyes, including those of England manager Martin Johnson, are set to follow him closely.
London Wasps - Team News: New signings Nic Berry, Riki Flutey, Richard Haughton and Andy Powell all start.
Harlequins - Player to Watch: Scrum-half Danny Care saw international rival Ben Youngs steal all the headlines last season. Will a new contract spur Care onto greater things this term?
Harlequins - Team News: Quins' 23-man squad boasts an impressive array of English talent with 13 of the starting line-up, and seven replacement, all being available to Martin Johnson.
Key Battle: A tantalising match-up at scrum-half sees Wasps newcomer Nic Berry squaring up to Quins' Danny Care. Whoever sees more of the ball will likely dictate proceedings.
Trivia: These two teams were once part of the same club. Hampstead Football Club was founded in 1866 and a split in that club's membership gave birth to Wasps in 1867. Hampstead FC was renamed Harlequin Rugby Football Club in 1870.
Stats: London Wasps' record in previous London Double Headers is won 3, lost 3 while Quins have won two and lost 3. The last meeting of these two side at Twickenham was 'The Big Game 2' last December - won 21-20 by Wasps.
Odds: How about Wasps fly-half Riki Flutey importing the Top 14 ploy of slotting a drop goal at the earliest opportunity? An enticing 14/1 with Bet365.
"There is lots of competition and I said to the guys that it's a lot more difficult to pick a squad for this game than it was 12 months ago." - Wasps director of rugby Tony Hanks
"We want to get our defence right in terms of attitude and intensity and we know we will attack and will be good to watch going forward. No matter what team we play against, if we get the defensive side of our game right then we have got an attack that will take on anyone in the country." - Quins boss Conor O'Shea
Fantasy: This weekend also marks the start of the ESPN Premiership Rugby Fantasy Game so we can't give you an insight on key performers just yet - but we will. Have you entered your team yet?
Prediction: A wealth of attacking talent bodes well for an entertaining game but this contest will be won up front with Wasps packing a superior punch.
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