The poor saps who follow the Premiership fortunes of Harlequins from season to season are in need of some good cheer, given their club's parlous position at the wrong end of the table.
The poor saps who follow the Premiership fortunes of Harlequins from season to season are in need of some good cheer, given their club's parlous position at the wrong end of the table and the prospect of a nervous visit to bottom club Worcester tomorrow - the first do-or-die contest of the campaign. Happily for them, both Will Greenwood and Dafydd James have been named in the team - an international-class bonus following a series of performances bordering on the calamitous.
Greenwood has recovered from the head injury that forced him to miss the defeats by Newcastle and Bath, while James, who toured with the England centre during the 2001 Lions' tour of Australia, is finally fit and ready to start in midfield for his new club. James moved to the Stoop Memorial Ground when the Celtic Warriors were disbanded by the Welsh Rugby Union at the end of last season, and should provide a dimension wholly missing from the Quins back division in the opening month of the campaign.
Ugo Monye, one of the hottest young English-qualified wings around, has been dropped as a result of all this - news that will lend more ammunition to the anti-foreigner wing of the Rugby Football Union, members of which are beginning to stir once more as the personnel fall-out from the World Cup triumph of 11 months ago continues to affect the build-up to the forthcoming autumn internationals. The fact that the Quins selectors have resisted the temptation to throw Matt Henjak, the 22-year-old Wallaby scrum-half who arrived at the Stoop on Tuesday, into the fray immediately will not ease matters. Steven So'oialo of Samoa will wear the No 9 shirt instead.
Bath have parted company with the wing Simon Danielli, capped 11 times by Scotland, until the end of the season. Danielli has agreed terms with the Borders, a move that should provide him with the senior rugby he has no immediate prospect of getting at the Recreation Ground. "It is important that Simon has some game time, and this transfer means he is part of our home environment," said Ian McGeechan, director of rugby in the Scottish set-up.
Meanwhile, the Leicester hooker, George Chuter, will go before an RFU disciplinary panel after being cited for hitting a Northampton player during last week's East Midlands derby at Welford Road.Reuse content