Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Changed Harlequins Ready to Spoil Party

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Changed Harlequins Ready to Spoil Party

Article excerpt


WHEN West Ham decided to change at the team hotel rather than use the Millmoor facilities for their recent game against Rotherham, it was the kind of behaviour you would previously have associated with Harlequins, that most London of rugby teams.

However, as Quins are only too happy to point out, this is an unwarranted and outdated view of a rugby club that used to hate travelling north of Watford.

They will arrive at Rotherham rugby club's new home tomorrow, determined to prove that under Andre Vos, their outstanding South African captain, they are no longer a soft touch on the road and will stride confidently into that contentious away dressing room ready to tough it out.

An opening-day 33-27 win over Zurich Premiership champions London Wasps was a statement of intent and Vos will be a central figure at Millmoor where the football ground will be transformed into a rugby arena for the first time.

"We know we will face a fierce physical contest tomorrow," said Harlequins chief executive Mark Evans. "Rotherham have put a good squad together over the summer and will want to start well in front of their own supporters at Millmoor.

"Would we have chosen to be the first team to play at Millmoor?

"No, is the simple answer but it's fallen to us to mark their opening Premiership match at a new ground.

"We did well against Wasps last weekend but we are expecting a very difficult contest and I am sure Rotherham will not disappoint us."

Gavin Duffy comes in at fullback for Quins having fully recovered from his ankle injury to replace Andy Dunne, who starts on the bench, and Mel Deane is at centre, allowing George Harder to move to the wing, replacing Simon Keogh.

Colin Noon, Glen Kenworthy, Russell Earnshaw and Joe Ewens come into the Rotherham team, now known as the Titans, at the expense of Christian Loader, Dan Cook, Neil Spence and Jon Pritchard.

Their chief executive, Jim Kilfoyle, was heartened by the smaller than expected 22-8 loss at Gloucester last Saturday and said: "Quins will produce a different type of threat and after their excellent win against Wasps, confidence will be high. …

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