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Quins without Care

Danny Care

Danny Care has been ruled out of Harlequins' Aviva Premiership semi-final clash with Northampton after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

Care's absence robs him of an opportunity to go head-to-head with England's current first-choice scrum-half, Lee Dickson, less than a month before the Test series begins against South Africa. Karl Dickson will now start for Harlequins, who finished top of the regular season table, in direct opposition to his younger brother.

Harlequins are also without wing Ugo Monye, but they do still feature seven of England's touring squad in their starting line-up.

Conor O'Shea's men were top of the Premiership table for 34 weeks, between September 17 and the final round of regular season matches, when they beat Sale at Edgeley Park. But all that did was earn Harlequins a home semi-final. O'Shea has not needed to remind his men that they have achieved nothing yet.

"To be top of the leaderboard from the word go and to take all that pressure is testament to the group they are," O'Shea said.

"There was an empty feeling in some ways after the Sale game on Saturday because we know we still face a massive task. But you don't expect things to be easy at this stage, do you? We can't wait. If we're clinical and we stop them when they have opportunities we'll win but it's going to be incredibly tight."

Northampton were beaten semi-finalists last year but head into the game on the back of a bonus-point victory over Worcester and a run of four wins from their last five league games.

"It is going to be a very difficult game for us but I believe that we have the right mentality and players to be able to get the result we want," said Saints director of rugby Jim Mallinder

"We know we have the team to do well, now it is up to the players to show what they can do."