Quins v London Irish: Teams
Guinness Premiership at Twickenham, Saturday September 15, kick-off 3.30pm
By Tony Curtis. Last Updated: 14/09/07 5:58pm
Danaher: Danger man
Harlequins director of rugby Dean Richards has set his side a target of building on last season's positive return to the Premiership.
After a season's sabbatical in National One, the Quins adapted to their return to top flight well - but Richards now wants to see more from his side, starting against London Irish on Saturday at Twickenham.
He told the club's official site: "This season we will be looking to build on our mid-table finish in the league last year.
"We have worked hard during pre-season and key players have returned back from injury just in time for the start of the Guinness Premiership campaign.
"London Irish only finished two points above us last year so I think the game tomorrow looks set to be a thrilling encounter.
"They possess a strong attacking side, while under the leadership of their captain Bob Casey they are set to be a very difficult team to play against."
Richards has handed a debut to fly-half Chris Malone, while Hal Luscombe has shaken off his injury to take his place in the midfield.
In the forwards, short-term signing Christophe Laurent is named on the bench with Aston Croall handed the hooking duties, while academy flanker Chris Robshaw is handed his first start.
Nine new faces have been named in the London Irish squad to kick-off their campaign against the Quins.
Mark Ireland, Gary Johnson, Stuart Mackie, Dan Murphy, Dominic Shabbo, Richard Thorpe, Casey Dunning, Jeremy Staunton and Tomas De Vedia will all make their first appearances for the Exiles.
London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith has been forced into the changes due to the unavailability of a number of players at the World Cup - but it is something he knows a lot of clubs will have to deal with.
He told the club's official site: "We're excited about the new season. The players have been itching to get started and what better way to get going than at Twickenham in the London double header.
"Like many teams we'll have to negotiate the first six Premiership games without eight key players. While we were disappointed to lose Sailosi Tagicakibau earlier this week when he was called into the Samoa squad at the Rugby World Cup, we wish him well.
"We're looking forward to playing in front of our supporters and want to give them a big season.
"That starts on Saturday when we're optimistic that even in the absence of many of our big names we can get the job done!"
Although the Exiles have a number of new names in their line-up, there is still plenty of experience and Nick Kennedy will be making his 100th appearance for the club.
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Hal Luscombe, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Danny Care, 1 Ceri Jones, 2 Aston Croall, 3 Mike Ross, 4 Ollie Kohn, 5 Jim Evans, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 Paul Volley (c), 8 Tom Guest.
Replacements: 16 Christophe Laurent, 17 Ricky Nebbett, 18 Nicolas Spanghero, 19 Phil Davies, 20 Will Skinner, 21 Simon Keogh, 22 Tosh Masson.
London Irish: 15 Delon Armitage, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Mark Ireland, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Jeremy Staunton, 9 Paul Hodgson (c), 1 Tonga Lea'aetoa, 2, David Paice, 3 Faan Rautenbach, 4 Nick Kennedy, 5 Kieran Roche, 6 Declan Danaher, 7 Richard Thorpe, 8 Phil Murphy.
Replacements from: 16 Dan Murphy, 17 Stuart Mackie, 18 Gary Johnson/Bob Casey, 19 Steffon Armitage, 20 Dominic Shabbo, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Shane Geraghty/Eoghan Hickey, 23 Casey Dunning, 24 Tim Curran.