This afternoon all the Players, Management, Coaching and Office staff at NEC Harlequins will be attending St. Michael's Church in Bray, to join the Duncombe family in showing their respect for the sad loss of Nick Duncombe, who passed away so tragically on Friday 14th February 2003.
Our thoughts and condolences go to the Duncombe family on this sad day, although I know that they have appreciated the joy and happiness that Nick brought to them in his brief 21 years.
To steal a very well used cliche, 'life does go on,' and this weekend we face Bristol Shoguns in the Zurich Premiership at the Memorial Stadium.
Already this week we have announced the signing of Mel Deane from Sale Sharks. This morning we completed the on-loan signing of Ceri Jones, a loose head prop from Newport, who will be with us until the end of the season. The reason we have signed Ceri is because of yet another injury.
In training yesterday, Bruce Starr fractured his elbow and although the injury is not as bad as we first thought, he will be unavailable for approximately six to eight weeks. With Jason Leonard already out, having discovered his hamstrings playing for England against France, this left us very thin in the loose head department.
Following the unfortunate loss of Nick Duncombe, clearly there is also a need to recruit a further scrum half, and an announcement will be made in that respect prior to Sunday's game.
Yesterday afternoon, Ace Tiatia and I went down to Portsmouth to meet with the Rugby Football Union Disciplinary Committee, in respect to his citing following the Newcastle Falcons fixture on 1st February 2003.
As has been reported, although the citing was confirmed, Ace was given no further punishment as the hearing agreed with our argument that there had been no intent to injure the opposition player and that in fact Ace was actually in the act of supporting Tani Fuga score our consolation try and caught the Newcastle player by accident.
It would be wrong to say all our focus is on Bristol at the moment, it is not. Our focus is on supporting the Duncombe family and grieving with them this afternoon, and then in joining them at Maidenhead Rugby Club to celebrate the 21 years of Nick's life.
We are traveling to Bristol on Saturday and will be putting together our final training session in Bristol before taking on the Shoguns on Sunday afternoon.
I know that many of you will be traveling and I look forward to seeing you all there.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.