Andrew attacks fixture list

Harlequins 39 Newcastle 23
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The Independent Online

Rob Andrew launched a scathing attack on the structure of the season after losing three players to injury - including the England captain Jonny Wilkinson - and a crucial Premiership match yesterday.

Wilkinson's loss was a bad enough blow but the lock Craig Hamilton injured his shoulder and the No 8 Semo Sititi sustained a suspected fractured jaw. Wilkinson only started the game because Joe Shaw pulled out with a long-term ankle problem that will now require an operation.

"We just cannot continue playing through the Six Nations," said Newcastle's director of rugby. "It's just not feasible. Somebody has to look at it. The credibility of the Premiership is at stake.

"We just haven't got enough players to go around. We have to look seriously at the structure of the season. At the moment we are just going round in circles. It's not helping Andy Robinson, the RFU or the league."

Newcastle were playing catch-up from Jeremy Staunton's penalty in the seventh minute. Wilkinson did keep them in touch with his boot, but the lock Jim Evans added to George Harder's muscular try and, after Mark Mayerhofler had narrowed the gap after the interval, Quins pulled clear.

Staunton scored 19 points in all and Quins two further tries, one of them by the full-back Tom Williams while the Falcons hooker Andy Long was in the sin-bin.

Harlequins: Tries Harder, Evans, Fuga, Williams; Conversions Staunton 2; Penalties Staunton 5. Newcastle: Tries Sititi, Mayerhofler; Conversions Wilkinson, Walder; Penalties Wilkinson 2, Walder.

Harlequins: T Williams; G Harder, D James, M Deane, U Monye (S Keogh, h-t); J Staunton (A Thomas, 78), S So'oialo (D von Hoesslin, 78); M Worsley, T Fuga (A Tiatia, 78), C Jones (J Dawson, 78), J Evans (R Winters, 78), S Miall, N Easter, A Vos (capt; L Sherriff, 39-h-t & 78), T Diprose.

Newcastle: D Walder; O Phillips, T May, M Mayerhofler, M Stephenson; J Wilkinson (joint capt; T Flood, 35), J Grindal (H Charlton, 51); I Peel (joint capt), A Long, M Ward, L Gross (P Dowson, 51), C Hamilton (G Parling, 26), M McCarthy, C Harris, S Sititi (J Isaacson, 60)

Referee: A Rowden (Berkshire).

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