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James Horwill returns to captain Harlequins a fortnight after finger fracture

Australia lock James Horwill has proved his tenacity once again, missing just one match due to his gruesome compound finger fracture.

Horwill will captain Harlequins for Sunday's Aviva Premiership trip to Newcastle Falcons - just two weeks after suffering his nasty finger injury in the 25-6 loss at Leicester Tigers.

Quins skipper Horwill asked physios to tape up his finger so he could keep playing at Welford Road on November 20, but was hauled off as the broken bone had pierced his skin.

Now the 31-year-old is back in action having only missed last weekend's 21-20 win over Bath at The Stoop, and is joined in Quins' line-up by centre Jamie Roberts, back after Wales duty.

"We are very pleased to have James Horwill and Jamie Roberts back into the fray for what will be an undoubtedly tough trip to Newcastle," said Harlequins boss John Kingston.

"Falcons had an excellent victory over Northampton Saints last weekend and while they will be looking to build on this, it's important that we in turn follow up the success we had against Bath."

Tim Swiel slots in at fly-half for Quins who are without former All Black Nick Evans due to a hand problem.

Canada lock Evan Olmstead slots in for the suspended Calum Green for Newcastle, returning to the Falcons' starting line-up after autumn international Test duty.

Centre Fred Burdon makes his first Aviva Premiership start, with Mike Delany at full-back and Alex Tait on the wing.

Former Harlequins boss Dean Richards will be up against old faces this weekend in his guise as Newcastle rugby director. And the ex-England number eight hailed Fiji wing Vereniki Goneva as "one of the best finishers in the world" after his match-winning score at Northampton last weekend.

"In terms of Niki, he is a huge asset," said Richards of Goneva.

"It's no wonder people regard him as one of the best finishers in the world, the way he took that try at the end last week. It was outstanding to finish the way he did."

Worcester host Wasps in Sunday's other Premiership clash, with Dewald Potgieter captaining the Warriors from the hosts' back-row.

Flanker Sam Lewis will win his first league start, while ex-Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan slots into the engine room.

Wasps are missing some 15 players for their Sixways trip, 12 through injury with Nathan Hughes on England duty and Joe Launchbury and Elliot Daly suspended.

Jimmy Gopperth's knee injury and Kyle Eastmond's chest issue creates an entirely new centre combination of Alapati Leiua and Brendan Macken.

Rugby director Dai Young believes Wasps can still cope in the absence of a host of familiar names however.

"Yes we are down on numbers but it happens and we're no different to any other team," said Young.

"It's going to be a test of our squad, that's what the squad is there for, and we'll see the strength of it at Worcester.

"I like to see players who haven't had as much game-time as they would like given opportunities, and then it's up to them to take them."


From Belfast Telegraph