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

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific