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Just one Harlequins change as they look to reel in 14-point margin

By Kim Ekin
(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)

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Gallagher Premiership champions Harlequins have made just one change to their team to face Montpellier in this Saturday’s Heineken Champions Cup rematch in London, Will Evans coming into the XV at openside in place of Tom Lawday. It was last April when Evans fractured a tibia and he made his comeback last month after eleven months out. 

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Both those games were in the Premiership Rugby Cup against London Irish and Sale, but the back-rower Evans will now massively step up his comeback with a European start for Harlequins in a second leg game they go into trailing by a 14-point margin following last Sunday’s 40-26 first leg defeat in France.   

The Harlequins team announcement release read: “There is just one change to the matchday 23 as Will Evans replaces Tom Lawday in a straight swap in the number seven jersey. After scoring his first Heineken Champions Cup try, George Hammond retains his place as blindside flanker and the tight five remains the same with Quins looking to reduce a 14-point deficit.

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“Harlequins’ backline is unchanged after an impressive last 30 minutes in Montpellier which saw the London side run in four tries. Similarly to the backs, Quins’ impact players remain untouched with all eight retaining their places in the matchday squad from last weekend.”

Scrum coach Adam Jones added: “If you look back at our results over the last 18 months or so it’s clear to see that it’s never over. The first-half performance wasn’t good enough, but to be only 14 points down overall with the score being 34-0 after 50 minutes is not too bad. 

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“Montpellier probably felt they needed more of a 21-point lead so I’m sure they will be a bit frustrated, but we know they are still going to be tough opponents back at The Stoop. We know we’re only at half-time in the tie due to the new format in the last 16 stage, but it’s up to us to reduce the deficit and we can’t afford to make the mistakes that we made in the first 40 out in Montpellier last weekend.”

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HARLEQUINS (vs Montpellier, Saturday)
1. Joe Marler
2. Jack Walker
3. Will Collier
4. Matt Symons
5. Hugh Tizard
6. George Hammond
7. Will Evans
8. Alex Dombrandt (capt)
9. Danny Care
10. Marcus Smith
11. Cadan Murley
12. Andre Esterhuizen
13. Joe Marchant
14. Louis Lynagh
15. Huw Jones

Replacements:
16. Joe Gray
17. Simon Kerrod
18. Wilco Louw
19. Matas Jurevicius
20. Luke Wallace
21. Lewis Gjaltema
22. Will Edwards
23. Nick David

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