Preview: London Irish v Harlequins

Only seven days after he played for England in the Rugby World Cup Final in Paris, Peter Richards makes his debut for London Irish in the club’s opening EDF Energy Cup match against Harlequins at Madejski Stadium on Sunday.

Richards will be making his first appearance for the club where he began his professional career ten years ago. Interestingly, his debut is against another of the clubs he has played for in the intervening period.

Richards, who starts at scrum-half, is one of four changes to the starting line-up of the Exiles’ team that defeated Premiership leaders Gloucester last Sunday.

Another player making his first senior appearance of the season is Tim Curran. The 23-year-old Australian who joined from ACT Brumbies during the summer starts at full back. Nils Mordt takes over at inside centre from Seilala Mapusua who is rested.

The only change to the forwards is in the back row where Steffon Armitage starts at openside flanker. Bob Casey captains the team at lock.

“This Sunday we’re resting some players where we have to so our team has a core of regular starters plus a number of fresh faces,” said Brian Smith, London Irish Director of Rugby.

“Some of the new faces are players coming back from injury and others are ‘new blood’.

The ‘new blood’ will bring added enthusiasm and will be surrounded by plenty of experience. It’s a big opportunity for these boys and we’re confident they’ll front up.

Form: London Irish inflicted a first Premiership loss on leaders Gloucester has Sunday in Reading. The Exiles’ only previous victories in this competition both came at Madejski Stadium; against Cardiff Blues two seasons ago and Saracens last year. Harlequins lie in 4th place in the Guinness Premiership table with a won 4, lost 2 record so far, but ‘Quins have lost their last five away matches since a 28-15 victory at Northampton in February. Harlequins lost all three of their matches in the EDF Energy Cup last season. The two sides have already met this season with Harlequins winning 35-27 in the opening weekend double-header in the Premiership at Twickenham. ‘Quins were victorious on their last visit to Madejski Stadium: 27-26 over Montferrand in the final of the European Challenge Cup in May 2004.

London Irish: 15 Tim Curran, 14 Topsy Ojo, 13 Delon Armitage, 12 Nils Mordt, 11 Tomas De Vedia, 10 Shane Geraghty, 9 Peter Richards, 8 Phil Murphy, 7 Steffon Armitage, 6 Kieran Roche, 5 Bob Casey (c), 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Tonga Lea’aetoa, 2 David Paice, 1 Dan Murphy,
Replacements: 16 Tom Warren, 17 Stuart Mackie, 18.Gary Johnson, 19 Declan Danaher, 20 Richard Thorpe, 21 Warren Fury, 22 Jeremy Staunton.

Harlequins: tbc

Date: Sunday, October 27
Venue: Madejski Stadium
Kick-off: 15:00
Referee: Roy Maybank (England)
Touch judges: Andrew Pearce (England), Andrew Watson (England)
Television match official: Bob Ockenden (England)


365 Digital

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