LONDON, ENGLAND – Harlequins Head of Rugby Paul Gustard has named the matchday squad to face local rivals London Irish this Sunday, making six changes to the side that hosted Bristol Bears in Round 4 of the Gallagher Premiership season on Boxing Day.
England international Joe Marler returns to the starting line-up in the front row alongside fellow Test front rows Scott Baldwin (Wales) and Wilco Louw (South Africa). Also in the tight five, second row [and friend of Rugby Wrap Up] Matt Symons returns to fitness for the first time since November while Tom Lawday returns to the starting lineup at blindside flanker.
In the backline Scotland’s Scott Steele picks up his first start of the season at scrum-half, while fellow Scottish international James Lang switches from outside centre to inside centre as England midfielder Joe Marchant returns to start at outside centre.
Returning to full fitness, wing Cadan Murley starts in the eleven jersey, with young Louis Lynagh retaining his spot in the fourteen jersey after impressing in his first Premiership start in defeat to Bristol.
On the bench, fullback Aaron Morris and back row Archie White make their first matchday squads of the season.
Commenting ahead of the London derby at The Stoop this weekend, Gustard said: “We are very much looking forward to the fixture against London Irish. We were frustrated with our inability to complete the fixture against Worcester last weekend, but on the plus side the team have had the opportunity to be refreshed.
“The Club took and early and strong decision to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our players and our staff, as well as our opposition, in shutting down all training for a seven day period
“We come into this game fit and raring to go.
“We welcome back Matt Symons this week following a frustrating time with injury following the Exeter game. Matt has been one of our key players of the last wo seasons and we look forward to seeing the impact he makes.
“We also welcome back our England internationals in Joe Marler and Joe Marchant this week, and are pleased to see Louis Lynagh retain his spot on the right wing following an impressive first start against Bristol.
“London Irish are obviously a local derby game, and a team littered with top overseas international talent. We know we will have to be on top of our game on both sides of the ball to get the result we want this weekend.”
Harlequins Starting XV
1. Joe Marler (207)
2. Scott Baldwin (24)
3. Wilco Louw (10)
4. Matt Symons (46)
5. Glen Young (26)
6. Tom Lawday (24)
7. Will Evans (27)
8. Alex Dombrandt (58) – Captain
9. Scott Steele (11)
10. Marcus Smith (92)
11. Cadan Murley (39)
12. James Lang (72)
13. Joe Marchant (95)
14. Louis Lynagh (3)
15. Mike Brown (339)
16. Elia Elia (58)
17. Jordan Els (7)
18. Simon Kerrod (32)
19. Hugh Tizard (6)
20. Archie White (31)
21. Martin Landajo (21)
22. Ben Tapuai (33)
23. Aaron Morris (53)
Unavailable for selection:
Santiago Garcia Botta, Danny Care, Andre Esterhuizen, Sam Riley, Oscar Beard
Unavailable due to injury:
Chris Ashton, Michele Campagnaro, James Chisholm, Will Collier, Nathan Earle, George Head, Dino Lamb, Paul Lasike, Stephan Lewies, Luke Northmore, Craig Trenier
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-[Allegedly] corrupt Prime Ministers doubling as Rugby Union Chairmen in Fiji, Samoa and Tonga
–Funds disappearing without players getting paid or equipment being purchased
–World Rugby laying blame on the doorsteps of the top rugby nations
-Purposely keeping the Pacific Island Nations at a disadvantage