The second game of Round 21 carries with it a sombre note as the hosts’ captain, Chris Robshaw – long time servant of club and country – is set to play his last game at The Stoop.
While the ‘Quins players will harbour a great desire to give Robshaw a happy send-off from the venue which he has called home since 2005, they will face some stiff opposition in the form of a Wasps team which has been buzzing of late.
Joe Launchbury’s men have emerged as serious title contenders, losing only one game since rugby resumed in August while posting two fifty-point wins in the last fortnight. They currently occupy third spot on the overall standings with 61 points – just four behind second-placed Bath, and will be determined not to be tripped up at The Stoop in pursuit of the trophy.
Round 20 saw decent victories for both Wasps and ‘Quins; the former with a 59-35 triumph over Bristol Bears and the latter posting 28-15 against Gloucester.
Way back in Round 6 was the last time the teams met – at the Ricoh Arena – where a remarkable display from the visitors transpired; at 17-0 up, Wasps must have thought they were home and dry, and were taking somewhat by surprise by the fight-back which ensued from a gutsy ‘Quins group.
‘Quins scored twice before half-time to shrink the deficit to 3 points before making the second stanza their own, with a final score of 28-22 – a superb victory.
With home-ground advantage and the motivation of honouring Robshaw in his final match at the venue, Wasps should be prepared for a spirited fight on their hands, though they themselves will prove a very tough nut to crack.
One thing is for sure, the combination of these two teams seems to produce some great rugby.
Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw will play his final game at the Twickenham Stoop as he leads the 23-man squad for round 21.
Leading the side for the final time on home ground, Robshaw is named in a side with five changes to the team that played in the Premiership Cup final earlier this week.
Springbok pairing Andre Esterhuizen and Wilco Louw will make their first starts in Harlequins colours, having featured from the bench since arriving at the Club in recent months.
Last weekend’s vice-captain Stephan Lewies misses out on selection after sustaining a concussion against Sale in the Premiership Cup final, replaced in the second row by Glen Young. Scrum-half Scott Steele and wing Chris Ashton also return to the starting XV in place of Danny Care and Nathan Earle respectively.
Summer signing Jordan Els will look to make his Harlequins debut from the bench, with the South African-born loosehead prop overcoming a hamstring injury that delayed his first match in the famous Quarters.
There is one change to the starting line-up that beat Bristol Bears last time out. Joe Launchbury is out with a calf injury and is replaced by James Gaskell.