Chris Phillips, London24’s Harlequins blogger
Friday, March 30, 2012
“For those going tomorrow a world record crowd is promised so we can all feel like Sport Relief record breaker Freddie Flintoff, and if you get there early enough McFly is your reward.”
Top of the league for every sleep since mid September bar one brief period last weekend, a quarter final in the Amlin with possible a home semi final and final, and club captain Chris Robshaw widely celebrated as a great England Six Nations captain.
All good then? Well yes but we can’t be happy just yet can we? I have said previously that the least we can expect from the season is a home semi final and from there who knows what happens.
So why do I feel so nervous about tomorrow’s trip to Wembley? Of course it could be that we have an away fixture against reigning champions and second placed team Saracens. A team which did the double over us last season and ruined our big day out in December breaking our ten game unbeaten Premiership run.
All good reasons to be apprehensive about the fixture (not to mention the threat of Right Said Fred’s Stand up for the Saracens which as much of an incentive as any to prevent them scoring) but we are currently top of the table and have got there on merit. So why the nervousness?
Well I can help thinking teams have simply worked us out. Last weekend against Bath, two good teams cancelled each other out and it appeared as if no one had told the players it was sunny and dry and therefore not to drop the ball.
Our early season tempo and ability to break teams on the counter attack seems to have either been quashed by wiser defenses or we’ve have lost the cutting edge in head up rugby.
A draw at Newcastle and narrow win over Bath could have been vastly improved by Nev nailing some more kicks and that will surly be something he will want to improve on this weekend.
Indeed early season risks when ‘nothing is won or lost in September’ meant that we were happy to roll the dice without the win in the bag and the odd missed kick (which wasn’t many) mattered less. Now at the business end it feels as if we want to have the game secured before we open up and play, the very play that got us where we are today.
A loss without a bonus point tomorrow, (a repeat of the home fixture) would push us down to second with threatening games against Leicester and a possibly vital away trip to Sale on the final day of term if we are to realise top two aspirations!
For those going tomorrow a world record crowd is promised so we can all feel like Sport Relief record breaker Freddie Flintoff, and if you get there early enough McFly is your reward.
I’m focusing on the rugby and will be hoping that Chris Robshaw can inspire his troops to the same result as we saw versus Ireland. His Quins troops that is rather than the Saracen based quintet of Botha, Stevens, Farrell, Barritt and Hodgson who will be looking for a very different result from their white shirted captain this time around.
Prediction, Saracens by six and Quins to make top two...just.
Keep it multicolored