Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rugby Focus; Zurich Premiership

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Rugby Focus; Zurich Premiership

Article excerpt

Harlequins v London Irish

Saturday, 3pm The Stoop Memorial Ground, Tel:0871 871 8877 Tickets: adults [pound]12-20 (concessions [pound]2-5) Quins gave hints of finding some sort of form against Leeds, but unfortunately the Irish rediscovered themselves at the same time, thumping Saracens. The home team will be absolutely desperate to get points on the board - the way things look, only Bristol stand between them and relegation, and that can't be a comfortable feeling. Their former tenants at The Stoop, meanwhile, have probably worked off some time ago their desire to exact vengeance for their shoddy dismissal from the Twickenham ground, but they do need to prove that last season's successes weren't a one-off. It could be close (as if Quins boss Mark Evans needs more stress in his life) but the odds probably favour the Exiles.

Verdict: IRISH MAKE POINT

London Wasps v Saracens

Sunday, 3pm Adams Park, Tel: 01494 769471 (tickets) Tickets: adults [pound]6-16 (concs [pound]3-8) Wasps will be concerned at the way they had to salvage a draw from a winning position against Bath, while Saracens will be very upset indeed about being stuffed by the Irish - training this week under Buck Shelford, a man who does not take defeat well, will have been interesting. If either of these teams want to be in the mix for the title, they need to start putting down markers now, or be doomed to mid-table while the real battles go on above them.

Those looking forward to the clash between Saracens and England scrum-half Kyran Bracken (pictured) and Wasps' superb signing Robert Howley, which would be worth the entrance money alone, may have to wait . . . there's no guarantee the sometimes-fragile Howley will play. If he doesn't, Wasps' chances will be reduced.

Verdict: WASPS HANG ON

National League One

Wakefield v London Welsh Saturday, 3pm College Grove, Tel: 01924 374801 Tickets: adults [pound]8 (concs [pound]2-4) A solid win for the Welsh over Plymouth has put them in good heart for the long trip to the land of Yorkshire puddings - though the fact that Wakefield have shipped 111 points in just three games may well make them even happier. …

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