The result last Friday at Leicester was disappointing. To go 17 points down in the opening quarter in a game away from home is, to say the least, making things very difficult for yourself. Credit to the team; the spirit and battling qualities they showed to get back into the game will give us good heart for the return leg this Saturday afternoon (27th March) at the Stoop, kick-off 3.00pm.
There were a number of positives to come from Friday's performance. Our scrummage was good, our defensive lineout caused Leicester some real problems, our re-starts were excellent and we contested for the ball well in the tackle area, making it difficult for Leicester to play. Against this, we did not deliver our own lineout ball well enough and therefore struggled to get our own game going and our clearing patterns when relieving pressure in our own twenty-two were not accurate or long enough against such a powerful team as Leicester.
This week we will have both Andre Vos and Ugo Monye back in the starting line up. Andre will replace Pat Sanderson, who is away with the England Sevens squad in Hong Kong, along with Kai Horstmann and Tom Williams, while Ugo will come into the team for Matt Moore. In addition to the sevens, we have Chris Bell, Andy Reay and Henry Barratt with England Under 21's and of course Will Greenwood taking on France in Paris on Saturday evening.
On the injury front, Paul Burke is still having problems with the tendons in his neck following the injury he suffered against Saracens at the beginning of February. Having recovered very well to begin with, Paul's re-hab has peaked and he met with his consultant yesterday to see what could be done to continue his progress. George Harder suffered a shoulder injury against Saracens and although he played against London Wasps, the injury has got worse but he should be back in action very soon.
On Monday evening, the Second XV travel to Bath for the re-arranged Zurich A game which was postponed back in January. We are currently top of our group and six points ahead of Gloucester, and both teams have two games to play. Our final group game is on Monday 5th April when we face Bath at the Stoop, kick-off 7.30pm. Should we win the group, the Zurich A final will be played over two legs on Monday 12th April and Monday 26th April against the team top of the northern group, which is likely to be either Leicester or Northampton.
Saturday's game against Leicester is crucial to us if we are to maintain our push to finish as high up in the Zurich Premiership table as possible. We need to get the win and four points, but we know that facing an almost full strength Leicester team that this will be difficult.
Everyone is looking forward to playing at the Stoop again; only our second home game in the Premiership since 30th November last year! It is great that we will have a sell out crowd once again, and with your continued support we can be confident of getting back to winning ways.
Look forward to seeing and hearing you on Saturday.
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.