Tomorrow evening (Friday 12th November) we face Saracens at the Stoop in what is a crucial game for us in the Zurich Premiership.
Following good performances in our last five games against Gloucester, Leicester Tigers, Munster, Castres and London Wasps, we now need to move onto the next stage and collect the four points for a win. It really does not matter how the win comes about, whether we score three or four tries or if it is five penalties and a drop goal, but we do need that first victory of the season.
Over the last five games we have played well. Perhaps at times we have not had our share of the 'rub of the green,' but that is what happens when you are bottom of the log; you need to make your own luck. After the disappointing start that we have made, it would be easy to panic, and easy to change everything that we are doing and start again.
While we performed poorly in the early games of the season, over the last few weeks this has not been the case. As a group we have had to carry on doing the right things both on and off the pitch, we have had to stick together and to believe that what we have been doing is right, even though the results have not been going our way. We understand that it has been difficult for everyone, supporters, sponsors and staff alike, which is why we must all get behind the team this Friday evening.
On the selection front and with Will Greenwood away on England duty, Mel Deane will partner Dafydd James in the centre, in an otherwise unchanged starting XV. On the bench, Ugo Monye is now fully fit and will replace Mel.
In the physio room, both Maurice Fitz Gerald and Ace Tiatia should be ready to return to action within the next week or so, while Geo Cronje will take part in full training next week having arrived from South Africa with a minor knee injury. Jim Evans is continuing his re-hab from his shoulder injury and the medical team now expect him to be back playing in late January.
With the arrival of our two new second rows, we have agreed to loan Opeta Palepoi back to Rotherham for the remainder of the season. Opeta has had limited opportunities to play in his short stay at Quins and it is understandable that he wishes to play some rugby. We wish him well at Rotherham.
As announced at the weekend, we have also been able to agree terms with Nick Easter for him to remain at Quins until the end of the season, with an option to stay until the end of June 2006.
On Monday (8th November), our Second XV continued their winning run in the Zurich A League with an 'ugly' victory over Saracens by 8-6. Next Tuesday (16th November), the Second XV travel to Cambridge to take on the University at Grange Road as part of their preparations for the Varsity match in December.
After the Saracens game this Friday, we have two further vitally important games during November against Sale Sharks (Friday 19th) and Leeds Tykes (Sunday 28th).
We are all looking forward to Friday evening, see you there.
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.