Our progress in the tournament has been solid - unbeaten but a bonus point short of topping the table - with stand out performances from several of the younger lads, in particular Joel Kpoku. I'm not sure what test tube we're growing our second rows in but the production line is still working! The likes of Dominic Morris and Sean Reffell have also impressed without featuring in headlines, and it's been clear that they have benefited from having Marcelo Bosch and Schalk Burger to play alongside.
There have been several comments about the 'spirit' of the competition and Worcester's selection of first team players. This is probably a bit unfair, for a start they rotated extensively against us in the group stage, and they also are not blessed with a large squad to make wholesale changes, with some of those first-teamers featuring simply because they are the only option available. In every match so far, our team has featured several players with vast top level experience (against Quins we featured Isiekwe, Lozowski, Wray Skelton etc.) and I wouldn't be surprised if this weekend we see our most 'senior' Premiership Cup team yet.
From the side that faces Harlequins, Titi Lamositele is now on international duty with the USA (along with some-time Academy hooker Kapeli Pifileti), Joel Kpoku may or may not be released by England U20s, and Nick Isiekwe could be keeping his phone close in the hope of a call from Eddie. Otherwise I'd expect to see a similar team as before - notably with Rotimi Segun and Tom Griffiths returning from their long-term injuries. The line-up will depend on who of our players away on loan are made available but it could be something like:
Gallagher, Crossdale, Griffiths, D Morris, Segun, Malins, Whiteley; Barrington, Woolstencroft, Walker, Day, Skelton, Reffell, Wray, Vailanu
Gray, Adams-Hale, Emergency Prop!, Nay, Christie, H Taylor, Manu Vunipola, Lewington
Really depends on who's been given some time off on holiday, and who needs a run out before featuring against Leicester next week, so I could be completely wrong!
Fair play to anyone travelling down Friday night, and best of luck to the boys!