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Harlequins 16 Sale Sharks 24

It’s been a poor start to the year for Quins – losing to Northampton Saints and Joe Marler being banned for 6 weeks, 4 of which are suspended.

On top of this they ended 2022 with a defeat by Bristol Bears and Marcus Smith, Louis Lynagh and Tyrone Greene are currently unavailable.

Coach Nick Evans has been called up by Steve Borthwick to the England backroom staff.

We never seem to do well in the rain and – with foul conditions at the Stoop yesterday – lost again to the in-form Sale Sharks.

Now a fourth play off place is in doubt.

So what’s gone wrong?

Joe Launchbury will improve one of the problem areas (the locks) but next season we will lose Joe Marchant to Stade Francais and Tommaso Allan to Perpignan.

One hopes that the prolific Quins academy can provide replacements.

The main problem is that key players like Andre Esterhuizen and Alex Dombrandt are playing well short of their capacity.

The champagne rugby and thrilling comebacks are yesterday’s news.

The Quins game is built around Marcus Smith and in his absence perhaps Esterhuizen and Dombrandt are unsure of their roles.

The appointment of Nick Evans as England attacking coach – himself one of the great Quins fly halves who but, for a certain Dan Carter, would surely have had 50 All Black appearances – will be interesting.

Will he resolve the Farrell/ Smith issue by omitting one of them and will George Ford, currently injured – once of Leicester Tigers who Steve Borthwick coached so successfully – be selected?

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About Derek Williams

A recently-retired actuary, the long-suffering Derek has been a Quins fan for the best part of three decades. More Posts