Last Saturday at the Stoop, we were completely out scrummaged by the Worcester pack and as a result we had little or no platform to play from.
Both teams 'did a job' on the others lineout, as both ourselves and Worcester won only 60% of our own ball, but it was the scrum that enabled Worcester to control territory so well in the second half. And before we scream and shout that our scrum is not good enough and has been a problem all season, I have to advise you that the Opta statistics for the season show that we have won approximately 90% of all our scrums this season (above average), with the best team (Saracens) winning 93% of theirs.
We did have opportunities, particularly in the first half, which we did not take but the second half was completely dominated by a very heavy and well controlled Worcester scrum.
Of course it was disappointing, especially following on from the previous home game against Gloucester, but it is now gone. We took one point from the game thanks to Jeremy Staunton kicking three penalties from three attempts and we now have to look forward to the game against Bath this Saturday (26th February).
There has been a lot of talk about this weekend's game being postponed due to a lack of front row players being available for Bath. They have certainly been very unlucky losing both David Flatman and David Barnes to long-term injuries and then to have Matt Stevens and Duncan Bell selected for international duty. However, the ramifications of postponing a game for any reason other than the weather would have been massive and would certainly have unbalanced the Zurich Premiership season.
Playing through the international schedule, particularly the Six Nations with both the Under 21 and Under 19 representative sides playing as well, was always going to cause an issue but it is something that all the Premiership clubs agreed to do.
Unfortunately, injuries are part and parcel of the season, as we know only too well. We have had front row problems of our own this season; hookers having to play when injured and young Mark Lambert (19 years-old) starting against Gloucester back in October. It is not perfect, but it does happen.
Earlier this week we confirmed that Arwel Thomas has joined NEC Harlequins on a short-term deal until the end of the season. With Andy Dunne injured (broken foot) and Adrian Jarvis just returning from viral meningitis, we felt we needed some cover both for the fly half position and also in the goal kicking department.
As I stated last week, we had been close to finalising a couple of deals to fill this position before changes in the UK immigration law affecting professional sportsman were brought in by the Government on 8th February. This meant that only European passport holders were available to us and we are very grateful to Llanelli for agreeing to release Arwel until the end of this season.
Back to Bath on Saturday and we will not be announcing our team until we travel to the West Country tomorrow afternoon. Weather conditions are likely to have a huge bearing on the way that the game is played on Saturday and we therefore need to have all our options available to us. There were no new injuries after last weekend, and both Mel Deane and Ace Tiatia are available for selection this Saturday.
We need to put the disappointment of last weekend behind us. We will face a very motivated Bath team, but if we can put in a good overall team performance then we have every opportunity of coming away with four points on Saturday at the Recreation Ground.
We all know how important all the remaining six games are - your full and vocal support will be greatly appreciated by the entire playing squad on Saturday afternoon.
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.