Quins style can test European giants whatever the weather

Surrey Comet: Breaking free: Centre Matt Hopper escapes the attentions of the Exeter defence in Big Game Six, but he and his side found the going more difficult at title rivals Northampton Saints Breaking free: Centre Matt Hopper escapes the attentions of the Exeter defence in Big Game Six, but he and his side found the going more difficult at title rivals Northampton Saints

Centre Matt Hopper reckons the Quins style of play can keep the club on course for the Heineken Cup quarter finals.

Director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s men crashed 23-9 at Premiership title rivals Northampton Saints in monsoon conditions at Franklin’s Gardens last Friday.

The defeat led some commentators to claim Quins lack a plan B when their attractive off-loading style – so evident in the Big Game Six win over Exeter Chiefs – comes up against the game’s juggernaughts.

But Hopper, impressive in midfield this term, insisted the side’s commitment to playing the game as it should be could take on both the Frenchmen and the elements.

“We went over there earlier in the season and only came off second best ever so slightly,” he said.

“They do play some good rugby, but we have shown we can compete with them.

“It should be an interesting game and it is one we absolutely have to win.

“Our game management in difficult conditions has got better and we have already shown this season that we can grind things out when we need to like at Leicester and at Newcastle.

“We will not be doing anything different in terms of our preparation.

“We know the style of rugby we want to play and we know that can make things happen for us against anybody.”

The future of a credible European competition hangs in the balance with clubs and unions at loggerheads over the future of the Heineken Cup and the RFU reiterated its commitment to finding a solution this week.

“Our primary focus should be to maintain a genuinely pan European tournament so rugby can continue to thrive,” said chairman Bill Beaumont.

“For this to be achieved, all parties need to work collaboratively, so that everyone benefits, not least the players and supporters, who have done so much to make European rugby so memorable.”

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