'Tough afternoon' awaits Irish with visit of Quins

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The Independent Online

"A thorough examination" awaits London Irish when Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins visit the Madejski Stadium, according to their director of rugby Brian Smith.

But that depends on which Quins turns up, the ones who lost their last two league games against Saracens and Exeter, or the ones who beat Biarritz and Connacht in the Heineken Cup.

"It will be a tough afternoon," Smith said. "We can expect a thorough examination in all departments as Harlequins have a strong pack and some extremely dangerous back-line players.

"While we have a healthy respect for our opponents, we have faith in each other and the belief that we can beat any team in this league."

Irish have collected only nine points from their opening six Premiership games – only Sale Sharks' record is worse – but they did hand a 37-19 drubbing to the league leaders Northampton three weeks ago.

Declan Danaher, their captain, will make his 250th appearance for the Exiles. Smith added: "It is a great milestone for one of London Irish's finest warriors. It is an incredible feat of endurance and courage."