Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Couldn't Make My Team Sweat but Hope to Put Heat on Quins; EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Couldn't Make My Team Sweat but Hope to Put Heat on Quins; EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: Tom Palmer

WHEN I was at London Wasps, the expectation was we would finish the season in at least one final and at this time of year there is a good chance of warm weather. On a sunny day it can get pretty hot inside a big stadium so to prepare for this eventuality, we used to wear black bin bags under our jerseys during training.

After six weeks your body is accustomed and you are less affected by the heat on game day. With this in mind I suggested we do the same at Stade Francais in the build-up to tomorrow night's Amlin Challenge Cup Final against Harlequins, but it didn't go down too well with the Parisien players.

My idea of ruining the look of our chic pink and blue training kit with black bin bags was met with a response of "Non! Ce n'est pas possible". I'm not too worried about the heat now as the game is being played in Cardiff and we're more likely to need bin bags for the rain!

After a disappointing domestic season -- we finished 11th in the French Top 14 Championship -- there is still a chance to make a success of the campaign if we can defeat Quins.

Besides a very welcome piece of silverware, victory would earn automatic qualification to next season's Heineken Cup which is vitally important for all clubs, due to the extra income from TV, gate receipts and sponsorship.

Playing in the top European competition is something all players love, as it gives you the chance to take on the best teams in the Northern Hemisphere.

This should be a cracking match and it gives myself and team-mate James Haskell the chance of face our England colleagues Danny Care and Nick Easter. The last time we were all together was after the final Six Nations match in Dublin where Nick lifted the trophy as captain.

Along with Nick Evans, Harlequins' star Kiwi fly-half, Danny and Nick are key players for Quins and we will have to keep them quiet if we are to have a chance of winning. …

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