Coach: John Kingston
Home ground: The Stoop
Peter Browne (lock, Newcastle), Tom Casson (centre, unattached), Maurie Fa’asavalu (back-row, St Helens RL), Joe Gray (hooker, Northampton), Ollie Smith (centre, Montpellier), Benjamin Urdapilleta (centre, Pampas 15)
Aston Croall (prop, Sale), Josh Drauniniu (winger, London Welsh), Dan Fraizer (prop, released), Tani Fuga (hooker, Bristol), Seb Jewell (fly-half, Wasps), Waisea Luveniyali (fly-half, London Welsh), Tosh Masson (centre, released), Neil McMillan (flanker, released), Nils Mordt (centre, Saracens), Steve So’oialo (scrum-half, released), David Strettle (wing, Saracens), Gonzalo Tiesi (centre, Stade Francais)
The backbone of the Quins team is formidable on its day, with Chris Robshaw, Nick Easter, Danny Care, Nick Evans and Ugo Monye often as good as any other player in the league. If some of the new players like Ollie Smith and Benjamin Urdapilleta can follow their lead, whilst young talent such as Joe Marler and George Lowe step up, they’ll be very tough to beat.
Quins slipped to 8th in the league last season when some of their key players suffered a dip in form, and it’s their slight lack of strength in depth that could be a problem this term. If everyone stays fit and the new players impress, they could challenge for the playoffs, but they don’t seem to have the depth of some of the top teams.
One to watch:
An interesting one to watch will be the Samoan (now British!) Maurie Fa’asavalu who signed for St Helens after impressing in the rugby union World Cup in 2003. Having experience in the union game could see him hit the ground running at Quins although he’ll be hard pressed to work his way into the current all-English back-row options of Robshaw, Skinner, Easter and Guest.
Overall, Harlequins don’t seem to have the strength in depth to match the big boys of the league and we can’t see them making the play-offs this season – 7th