High-flying Quins eager to tame hungry Wolves

It is time to start taking Harlequins' play-off credentials very seriously indeed. The 27-16 victory on 11 March at St Helens' temporary home in Widnes was their fourth win in five games this season. While their coach, Rob Powell, is not getting carried away, he knows they have already exceeded many people's expectations for their season.

"We aren't talking about the play-offs yet," he insisted after seeing his side account for Saints more emphatically than the scoreline reveals. "We've competed five times and we have to do it 22 times more."

Harlequins did rather more than compete with a flat and insipid St Helens; for most of the match they played them off the park despite some enforced changes, one of which Powell is able to reverse today, with the return of David Howell from suspension in the centres.

Quins face a tougher task against Warrington, a team with a similar record of only one defeat so far this season. The Wolves should also be particularly fresh, because their coach, Tony Smith, rested a series of first-choice players with a varietyof minor niggles for last week's game at Wakefield. Brett Hodgson, Adrian Morley and the Monaghan brothers, Michael and Joel, are all expected to return today, giving Warrington a formidable look.

Not that Smith is taking anything for granted."Quins deserve to be where they are. I've seen all their games and they've played really strong," he said.

"They are one of those really honest teams where if you don't work hard you don't beat them."

Terry Matterson, the coach of unbeaten Castleford, feels under no pressure to rush back his former captain, Ryan Hudson, after a shoulder injury. Hudson did the damage in the first round of matches and two young hookers, the England Academy captain, Adam Milner, and the 18-year-old Daryl Clark, have done the job admirably since then.

Matterson is also still without Ryan McGoldrick, a fixture for the last three seasons but ruled out so far this year by a knee injury, as he names an unchanged squad of 19 for today's trip to Bradford.

That includes Craig Huby, the prop currently in the best form of hiscareer, who agreed a new, three-year contract last week. Huby's omission from the recently announced England training squad is a mystery to everyone from Cas, with Brett Ferres the only Tiger to make the cut.

Bradford have already shown plenty of signs of emulating last season's inconsistency, but they at least have three key players returning at Odsal today. Jamie Langley comes into the back row of the pack, Heath L'Estrange is likely to resume as the starting hooker and Kyle Briggs, who showed signs early in the season of solving the club's stand-off problem, is earmarked for that role.

On the downside, Ian Sibbit and Gareth Raynor are both ruled out through new injuries as the Bulls try to dent Super League's only perfect record.

Nigel Wright has been appointed the new coach of Barrow after being assistant to Garry Schofield, who was sacked this week.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower