Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Varndell Finds Missing Spark as Quins Are Hit by More Trouble; Former England Wing Hopes to Top the Scoring Charts Again after Starring in Match Marred by Controversy

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Varndell Finds Missing Spark as Quins Are Hit by More Trouble; Former England Wing Hopes to Top the Scoring Charts Again after Starring in Match Marred by Controversy

Article excerpt

Byline: Steve Douglas

IT was a weekend Harlequins and their villain of the piece George Robson will be keen to forget but for Tom Varndell it was further evidence of the wisdom of his summer move to London Wasps.

Robson's impetuous headbutt on Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson just 46 seconds into the second match of Saturday's double-header at Twickenham has not only landed him in hot water with disciplinary bosses but also succeeded in keeping his club in the headlines for the wrong reasons in the wake of the Bloodgate scandal.

The Quins lock has been charged over the incident and will now face a threeman RFU disciplinary panel tomorrow night. A likely ban of at least six weeks equates to the worst possible start to the season for Robson.

But Varndell, who revelled in the open spaces afforded to him as a result of Robson's red card to score a brace of tries in Wasps' 26-15 victory, will be back in training today thrilled to have made a statement of intent on the first weekend of the Guinness Premiership campaign.

He made the switch to Wasps after losing his motivation at former club Leicester, for whom he was used sparingly last season.

The 23-year-old was also dumped by England but he has found a new lease of life at Wasps, whose coaching team of Tony Hanks and Shaun Edwards are more than capable of bringing the spark back in Varndell's game.

The imposing wing believes he is now at the perfect club to get the best out of his undeniable talent and return to the top of the Premiership's try-scoring charts, where he was once a permanent fixture.

"Getting two tries on your league debut for your new team is fantastic," he said. I couldn't have asked for any more. The boys have been brilliant. Moving from Leicester to your arch rivals is a pretty big move but I've been here eight weeks and I've enjoyed every minute of it.

"The coaching's been fantastic -- I think I've received more coaching here in the past eight weeks than I did at Leicester for the whole of last season. So I'm so happy and it's great we got off to the start we needed to. I'm already looking forward to next weekend."

Varndell has proved to be vulnerable to dips in confidence but with such an impressive start to the season, his selfbelief is soaring. …

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