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Harlequins statement: Marcus Smith and Big Game 13 team change

By Ian Cameron
Marcus Smith (Photo by PA)

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Harlequins have explained the absence of both England 10 Marcus Smith and James Chisholm after the pair tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of their Big Game 13 meeting with Northampton Saints.

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A statement from the club reads: “Harlequins fly-half Marcus Smith and backrow James Chisholm both tested positive for COVID-19 via a PCR test earlier this week.

“Due to health and welfare regulations all players must observe a clear graded return to match intensity fitness following a positive COVID-19 result before returning to match action.

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“Unfortunately, there was not enough time for either player to pass through these protocols before Big Game 13, and are therefore unavailable for selection for this fixture. Both are expected fit for the Club’s Gallagher Premiership fixture away to Gloucester on January 2.

“Further to this, Harlequins have one team change to the side that will play Big Game 13, with Tongan international Viliami Taulani replacing Dino Lamb in the 20 jersey.”

Attack and backs coach Nick Evans said: “We’ve got a really important run of three games coming up and they come thick and fast. We’ve just come off the back of a couple of really good wins in Europe and now we have a run of three games in one stretch.

“I think if you put the context of the Big Game aside, the importance of this game from a Club point of view is big. Then you add a team like Northampton and it makes it equally as massive as well. Both teams are going reasonably well in the Premiership and both play really positive rugby. They like to move the ball around a lot and, hopefully, it will make for a really great game for fans to watch in the stands.

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“But for us, it’s super important and we want to back up a couple of decent performances in Europe and, actually, a decent performance against Leicester in terms of intensity and physicality, despite a loss. This is a real big game for us.”

HARLEQUINS
1. Joe Marler
2. Jack Walker
3. Will Collier
4. Matt Symons
5. Stephan Lewies
6. Tom Lawday
7. Jack Kenningham
8. Alex Dombrandt
9. Danny Care
10. Will Edwards
11. Cadan Murley
12. Andre Esterhuizen
13. Joe Marchant
14. Louis Lynagh
15. Tyrone Green

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Jack Musk
17. Santiago Garcia Botta
18. Simon Kerrod
19. Hugh Tizard
20. Viliami Taulani
21. Scott Steele
22. Luke Northmore
23. Huw Jones

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