Harlequin FC

Heineken Cup: Harlequins face stiff French test of credentials after

Harlequins’ doomed attempt to play fast and loose against a Scarlets team that knows no other way – “we will never change,” said the Welsh region’s manager and former Wales wing Garan Evans, as he boarded a bus emblazoned with a rampant dragon for a happy journey back down the M4 – leaves them contemplating more of the same pain this weekend, away to Clermont Auvergne in the second round of Heineken Cup pool matches.

Premiership: Revitalised Chris Ashton fuelling Saracens’ hopes

Chris Ashton recognises the benefit of the “mental rest” he gained by missing the summer tours by the Lions and England – he was not selected and rested respectively – even if the rejection upset the Saracens wing. Now it has taken a new season in which his club cannot stop winning for him to enjoy his rugby again.

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Conor O’Shea: Quins will challenge – we’ve not been worked out

Harlequins have been the least active of England’s top-flight brigade when it comes to recruitment – just three signings, none of them in the first flush of youth, and some tinkering at academy level has been the extent of their summer business dealings – but the Londoners have no plans to change their hyperactive style of rugby. Conor O’Shea, the man in charge at The Stoop, is promising more of the same, with added attitude.

Harlequins' delight as 'hungrier and hungrier' Mike Brown agrees new

Conor O'Shea and his fellow members of the Harlequins hierarchy were not exactly in party mood when they lost the prop James Johnston to Saracens at the end of last season: they knew instantly that, without the supersized Samoan's scrummaging strength, their chances of regaining the Premiership title over the next eight months would be less than brilliant.