At long last, on Friday evening (19th March) we return to action in the Zurich Premiership with the first of two games against Leicester Tigers, as we continue our push towards a top four finish and Heineken Cup qualification.
Since I last spoke to you much has happened off the pitch, but on the training field all the focus is on our next two matches against the Tigers.
Our Second XV continue to top our section of the Zurich A League following a tremendous win over Gloucester last week (9th March) and then a nail-biting victory away to London Wasps on Monday night (43-41, 15th March). There was some very good rugby played against Wasps, but at the same time the defensive effort from both teams was a little suspect, resulting in a total of 12 tries being scored, with both teams securing the four try bonus point before half-time!
With two games to come against Bath, away on Monday 29th March and then at the Stoop on Monday 5th April, there is every chance that the Second XV will qualify for the play-off final. This will be played over two legs on Monday 12th April and Monday 26th April, probably against either Northampton or Leicester depending on how results in the northern pool go.
On the injury front, there is not a great deal to report. Sure there are a few niggles but no-one would be considered not available for selection at the present time due to injury. As you will be aware, we will face Leicester tomorrow without Will Greenwood, Ugo Monye, Chris Bell, Andy Reay and Adrian Jarvis who are all on representative duty.
Also unavailable is Andre Vos, who is in South Africa attending his sisters wedding. Andre approached us at the beginning of the season for a date for his sisters wedding, which we agreed upon as the 20th March as we were not due to be playing on that date. However, a culmination of factors resulted in our away game against Leicester being moved twice and clashing with the above date - so it is not just supporters who are not happy when fixtures are re-arranged!
However, this has given Luke Sherriff a thoroughly deserved chance to start in the back row with Tony Diprose taking over the captaincy.
We are now facing a final run-in to the season with up to 11 games back-to-back as we push for honours in both the Zurich Premiership and the Parker Pen Challenge Cup. Everyone within the group, both players and management, are looking to win all our remaining games starting on Friday evening. Leicester Tigers will be one of the toughest tests we have faced so far this season, but we are all looking forward to getting back into action.
For those of you travelling to Welford Road, I look forward to seeing and hearing you!
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.