This Saturday sees NEC Harlequins return to action in the 2nd Round of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup where they take on the French side Montauban in the first leg of this round, the second of which takes place at The Stoop on Saturday 17 January KO 3pm.
Montauban are a fiercely proud French Club situated half way between Toulouse and Agen. Currently struggling in Poole one of the French league they came through the first round of the competition as one of the lucky losers after having defeated London Irish at The Stade Sapiac before going down on points difference at the Majeski Stadium. They have a strong forward pack led by their captain and talisman 37 years of age Sergei Sergueev.
After last weekends dramatic win at Kingston Park, NEC Harlequins make a number of changes, particularly in the forwards for this game. In the front row, Jason Leonard switches to loose head prop and Laurent Gomez starts at tight head. In the second row, Roy Winters replaces the suspended Jim Evans and Karl Rudzki comes in for Bill Davison. While in the back row Ace Tiatia starts at six, Pat Sanderson moves to open side and Andre Vos will start at number 8 with Tony Diprose on the bench.
In contrast the backline sees just one change with Paul Burke replacing the injured Andy Dunne, who damaged his elbow last weekend but should be available for selection in time for the second leg of this tie.
The team travel to Toulouse on Friday afternoon, and are expecting a very fierce contest down in South West France, but would hope to put in a good enough performance to ensure that the first half of the job is done and that we can secure a place in the Quarter Finals against either Brive or Castres in the second half of the month.
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.