Quins out to heap more misery on Leeds
November 26, 2010
Harlequins are bolstered by the return of Joe Marler for this weekend's encounter © Getty Images
Harlequins will undoubtedly be targeting a bonus-point victory from their meeting with Premiership basement boys Leeds Carnegie at the Stoop on Sunday.
Despite the consistent brilliance of former All Blacks fly-half Nick Evans, Quins currently stand ninth in the table and have now gone three games without a win in the league.
However, Conor O'Shea's men have lost just once at home in their last 11 outings and will be confident of comfortably dispatching a Leeds side that are still winless after eight rounds of Premiership action.
Harlequins - Player to Watch: Ollie Smith stated that the primary reason behind his return to England was to push for a place in England's World Cup squad. He really needs to step up to another level - and soon - if he is to have any chance of realising that goal.
Harlequins - Team News: The return of Joe Marler at loose-head prop is the only change to the side beaten by Leicester Tigers at Welford Road in round eight.
Leeds Carnegie - Player to Watch: Leeds' 23-year-old flanker Kearnan Myall has proven himself very useful in the air this year, having made seven lineout steals already, a record only equalled by Falcons lock James Hudson. It will be interesting to see if Myall can put the Quins lineout under any pressure this weekend.
Leeds Carnegie - Team News: Leeds have stuck with the same starting XV that managed to pick up a bonus point in last weekend's defeat by Exeter at Sandy Park.
Key Battle: Nick Evans really is the man who makes Quins tick and is not only their most reliable source of points but also arguably their most potent attacking weapon - he has made more clean breaks than any other player in the Premiership. Ceiron Thomas has the unenviable task of trying to outshine the Kiwi this weekend.
Trivia: Leeds' last away win in the Premiership came against London Irish on April 18.
Stats: Harlequins have won their last four clashes with Leeds.
"We have a huge respect for Leeds who, despite having a tough time of it in the Aviva Premiership Rugby, have shown like every team that unless you are at your best in this league you will lose." - Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea is not under-estimating the threat posed by struggling Leeds
"We will travel to Quins looking to improve in our performance. There is still a lot of belief within the squad. I read comments this week saying that we had targeted the Exeter game for a win but we target every game for a win and we need to start picking up points." - Leeds Carnegie head coach Neil Back is keeping the faith
Fantasy: Harlequins No.10 Nick Evans has scored 72 points so far this season, meaning he is second only to Gloucester's Ryan Lamb in the fly-half standings in the ESPNscrum Fantasy Rugby Game
Prediction: Quins have hardly set the Premiership alight this season but they are strong at home and should have far too much firepower for a Leeds side that looks badly out of its depth this season.
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