Rugby Focus

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Byline: by Sam Bordiss

GUINNESS PREMIERSHIP Harlequins v Saracens The Stoop, Saturday, 3pm The London sides have experienced contrasting fortunes in their opening two fixtures. Second-placed Sarries are flying after wins over the much-fancied Irish and Northampton, against whom they attracted 45,000 at Wembley. Second-bottom Quins are yet to recover from their summer of gloom, with defeats by Wasps and Leicester. Considering Quins' talents, though, the gap is likely to narrow sooner or later. VERDICT: QUINS COME UP TRUMPS Leeds Carnegie v London Irish Headingley, Sunday, 3pm The Exiles and fly-half Ryan Lamb redeemed their poor defeat by Sarries with an impressive 40-point blitz against Gloucester. The loss of Delon Armitage for three months would hurt most sides but, in Peter Hewat and Tom Homer, Irish have strength in depth. Leeds are still searching for their first victory.

VERDICT: IRISH DAZZLE Wasps v Worcester Adams Park, Sunday, 3pm Rather surprisingly, table-topping Wasps have only beaten Worcester once in their last five meetings and they will certainly not underestimate their in-form opponents. With a host of senior players still absent in the pack, Wasps need their exciting backline, led by scrum-half Joe Simpson, to continue their rich attacking form.

VERDICT: WASPS STAY TOP THE CHAMPIONSHIP London Welsh v Birmingham Bees Old Deer Park, Saturday, 3pm The Dragons suffered a second successive narrow loss on the road, this time a 23-16 defeat at Nottingham. …