Quins hoping for their own St Patrick's day celebration
13 March 2003 23:59pm
New signing Mel Deane is looking forward to NEC Harlequins trip to London Irish on Sunday (16th March 2003), hoping to continue his scoring run against the Exiles and secure Quins first away win in the Zurich Premiership for two years in the process.
"I always play well against the Irish and they hate that," said the Ireland 'A' international.
"My uncle is a real London Irish fan and he says that if I break through that I have to fall over and not score, but we'll see," said Deane, with the biggest of Irish grins across his face.
The London born centre has been thrust into the relegation dogfight that has developed in the bottom half of the Premiership table, after helping to steer Sale into second place and a possible title challenge. However, he is relishing his new role.
"I love a challenge," said Deane. "It is a bit of a change coming from Sale. You are running the same lines but they are using different names for everything. The boys are very professional and very keen, and if you are willing and keen then you can do it."
"I wasn't getting the shots I thought that I deserved at Sale, and said that I am not here to do weights every week. I was hitting a personal best, but it's a means to an end and I wanted to play rugby."
"So when Sale came down and thumped Quins last month (8th February 2003) they wondered why I wasn't playing and asked if I could come down on loan. So it's a challenge but throw me in the deep end and I'll swim."
Quins have needed a centre to compliment the silky skills of Will Greenwood and former Richmond man Deane fits the bill nicely.
"There are some talented boys here, with the likes of Will (Greenwood), Danny (Luger) and Paul Burke, and I'm quite looking forward to playing more regularly alongside Will."
"He's a real coaster. He seems not to be running at all and then just coasts through gaps. I'm looking forward to having a couple of games with him."
"Apart from the sin-binning, I was happy enough with my performance at Bristol (2nd March 2003). I made a couple of little half-breaks and Nathan (Williams), who scored his try off me, ran a great line. So I am looking forward to taking that on, starting at London Irish this weekend."
London Irish make four changes to the team that played against Northampton Saints in the semi-finals of the Powergen Cup (2nd March 2003).
Having recovered from injury, Justin Bishop returns to the left wing and will make his 200th appearance for the club in the professional era, while Neal Hatley, Simon Halford and Declan Danaher rotate with Mike Worsley, Rob Hardwick and Kieron Dawson in the front and back rows respectively.
Chris Sheasby, Nick Burrows and Mark Mapletoft all start against their former club.
The London Irish team is as follows:
15. Mark Mapletoft, 14. Paul Sackey, 13. Nick Burrows, 12. Brendan Venter, 11. Justin Bishop, 10. Barry Everitt, 9. Hentie Martens, 1. Neal Hatley, 2. Naka Drotske, 3. Simon Halford, 4. Bob Casey, 5. Nick Kennedy, 6. Paul Gustard (Capt.), 7. Declan Danaher, 8. Chris Sheasby
Replacements: 16. Kevin Barrett, 17. Mike Horak, 18. Kieron Dawson, 19. Adrian Flavin, 20. Kieran Roche, 21. Mike Worsley, 22. Rob Hardwick
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.