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.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Concussion, relegation and the mother of all surprises - it's the Monday Maul.
Huw Richards assesses where Wales are after a mixed Six Nations, with front row seats still very much available for the World Cup
John Mitchell lapped up the action on 'Sensational Saturday' - but warns not to expect a repeat come Rugby World Cup time later this year
Craig Dowd warns England, Ireland and Wales they should play to their strengths rather than those of the All Blacks and the Wallabies