Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 29 November 2014

Robshaw proud of Quins

Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw is proud of his players for fighting back into contention for the Aviva Premiership top four.
Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw is proud of his players for fighting back into contention for the Aviva Premiership top four.

Harlequins captain Chris Robshaw says he is proud of his team-mates after four straight victories fired Quins back into contention for a play-off spot in the Aviva Premiership.

Robshaw's side host Bath on Saturday knowing a win at the Stoop will see them jump above their opponents into fourth place so long as the visitors are restricted to one bonus point or less.

Clinching a play-off place in the final round would be an incredible achievement for Quins, who have recorded consecutive victories over Exeter, Leicester, Sale and London Irish.

"I've been so proud of all the guys and their efforts," Robshaw told the official club website.

"About two months ago people generally didn't give us a shot or opportunity of getting into the top four.

"So to be in this situation, where it is a winner-takes-all scenario, means a huge amount to everyone in the squad."

Quins number eight Nick Easter will make his 232nd appearance to equal Ceri Jones' club record while Maurie Fa'asavalu and George Robson come into the back-row, and Mike Brown starts at full-back.

Bath make only one alteration to their starting side as Eusebio Guinazu replaces the injured Rob Webber at hooker.

There will be less at stake in terms of the table when Saracens and Leicester face each other safe in the knowledge their play-off spot is secure.

Sarries will finish top of the league regardless of the result at Welford Road and both sides have rested a host of key players for the contest.

Jamie George will captain the Men in Black and the young hooker insists it is important to keep winning ahead of the semi-finals.

"It's important to continue the momentum that we've built over the last few weeks," George told the official club website.

"The main thing that we are looking for is the performance and to put on a performance that we are proud of."

Sarries have handed rare starts to Hayden Smith, Maro Itoje, Ben Ransom and Jack Wilson while Charlie Hodgson provides some experience at number 10.

Tom Croft makes a timely return to the Leicester bench having been sidelined with a knee injury since September.

Northampton need just one point against Wasps to seal a home semi-final and have rested several players for the contest at Franklin's Gardens.

George North, Christian Day and Lee Dickson are included in the starting XV but George Pisi, Samu Manoa and Tom Wood are three to be rotated out.

Wasps are boosted by the return of captain Chris Bell while Guy Thompson and Ed Jackson are both handed starts in the back-row.

Newcastle are now guaranteed survival in the top flight ahead of their match at home to Exeter who can climb above Gloucester into eighth with a win at Kingston Park.

The Falcons start the match two places and 19 points behind their opponents but Chiefs fly-half Henry Slade is expecting a tough battle.

"Most teams go up to Newcastle and struggle to get a win," Slade told the club's official website.

"They are tough to beat at their own place but we have to go there and show the same intensity that we did against Quins [last week] and hopefully we can do a job."

Newcastle have made three changes as on-loan Munster lock Ian Nagle makes his debut for the home side while Gary Strain and Oliver Tomaszczyk are both picked in the front row.

Exeter also make three changes as Ben Moon returns, James Scaysbrook replaces the injured Dave Ewers and Slade comes in at number ten.

Sale will be hoping to extend their record-breaking run of five away victories in the Premiership when they travel to struggling London Irish.

Henry Thomas and James Gaskell make their final starts in a Sharks shirt ahead of moves to Bath and Wasps respectively as six changes see Mark Easter, Will Cliff, Joe Ford, Ross Harrison, Tommy Taylor and Thomas all included.

Irish fly-half Shane Geraghty returns to captain the Exiles while there is also a final appearance for James O'Connor before he departs for Toulon.

Relegated Worcester are looking to salvage some pride when they host rivals Gloucester.

The Warriors have registered just one victory in the league this season but director of rugby Dean Ryan wants his team to show how far they have come on Saturday.

"I hope we sign-off in the Premiership by showing our progress. I hope we perform and illustrate how much we all care about the club," Ryan told the official club website.

Worcester name an unchanged side from the one that lost to Saracens last weekend.

Henry Trinder returns to Gloucester's midfield for the clash at Sixways and there are also starts for Shane Monahan, Steph Reynolds, Nick Wood, Dan George and James Hudson.

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