Battered Quins keep faith in teenager Sarginson for showdown with Wigan
Dan Sarginson, whose performance last weekend was a rare shaft of light for Harlequins, retains his place for the visit of Wigan this afternoon.
The 18-year-old stand-off or centre scored two tries on his debut at Salford. It was not enough to bring Quins only their second victory since the heady days of March, when they briefly topped the Super League table, but it was further evidence of the club's ability to bring through young local talent.
"It was great to see Dan score twice on his debut," said Harlequins' coach Rob Powell, "and I though it was a fantastic effort from a young and beat-up team."
It will take another fantastic effort today to compete with the reigning champions, although the complexion of the game could be affected by it being Wigan's third in eight days. The Warriors played their game in hand against Castleford on Wednesday and struggled to beat a below-strength side. At The Stoop today, they include Andy Coley – back after a one-match suspension – and Pat Richards.
Darrell Goulding is out after turning an ankle against Cas, while coach Michael Maguire must also check on the fitness of Gareth Hock, who has incurred a minor groin strain.
The day's other match could be dubbed the "Suspension Derby". Super League's bottom club, Crusaders, are without seven players suspended for disciplinary breaches, in addition to Hep Cahill, who has been banned for one match after a late tackle on Huddersfield's Kevin Brown last Sunday.
Their visitors, Hull KR, are still without Ben Cockayne and Liam Watts, who are under club suspension while a driving incident is investigated.
A further complication for Rovers is that their coach, Justin Morgan, is being linked more strongly than ever with the vacancy next season at Castleford. One area of uncertainty has been clarified, however, with their scrum-half, Michael Dobson, agreeing to take up his option of an extra year at the club.
Tomorrow's top game is at Perpignan, where Leeds have Jay Pitts, Paul McShane and Ryan Hall back in their squad to face the Catalan Dragons. The Catalans are without prop, David Ferriol, who has been suspended for three matches for a high tackle at Bradford last weekend.
Castleford's stamina will be tested when they play Bradford in their third match in nine days. The Cas coach, Terry Matterson, has been outspoken in his criticism of the League's scheduling of the Wigan game. "It's a matter of player welfare," he argued. Cas have taken the young Wigan prop, Ben Davies, on an initial month's loan.
Sarah Bennison makes a little piece of rugby league history today when she becomes the first woman to referee a men's international, taking charge of the fixture between Norway and Germany at Lillestrom.
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