Harlequins rugby team have lost Ollie Smith and he is a major doubt for the season. Smith was taken off on a stretcher half an hour into the game at Vicarage Road and must now undergo surgery.
The 28-year-old, who has five England caps and scored a try in his one appearance for the Lions in 2005, only joined Quins last summer.
But the club say Smith is set to be out for “a number of months” after a scan.
Harlequins chief executive Mark Evans has said that he will be leaving the team in February. Evans took up the role 10 years ago but is departing Twickenham Stoop to set up a sports consultancy business.
Quins chairman Malcolm Wall said: “Mark has been an outstanding CEO for Harlequins for the last 10 years.
“He has led the club from the early, uncertain days of professional rugby and established us as one of the leading lights in the Premiership.”
Harlequins Rugby Union were unable prevent a defeat in the hands of Northampton. Harlequins Rugby Union lost the match 16-20 to Northampton. Saints took a 13-point lead through a Chris Ashton try and eight points from the boot of Shane Geraghty before Nick Evans pulled three points back.
Quins took the lead after the interval with another two Evans penalties and a converted George Lowe try. But the visitors replied with a try from skipper Dylan Hartley, converted by Geraghty, to secure the win.
The result left Quins still searching for their first win of the season while it was Saints’ first Premiership win at The Stoop for six years. The visitors were dominant up front in the first half and deservedly scored the opening try when winger Ashton raced on to a kick through from James Downey.
It was a different Quins side that emerged after the interval, with the backs producing far more urgency and two more Evans penalties brought them back in touch.
Harlequins only drew with Wasps in a match which ended 29-29. Nick Easter (fresh from watching his teammates from the England Rugby Hospitality Tickets) scored Quins first try from a simple switch with fly-half Nick Evans before Andy Powell crossed on his debut for Wasps.
Tom Varndell streaked away to put Wasps in charge after Rikki Flutey’s break, while Evans and Mark van Gisbergen were on target with the boot throughout.
Mike Brown’s converted second-half try gave Quins a three-point lead but a late Wasps penalty cancelled it out.
The game was a tight affair throughout, characterised by Evans and Van Gisbergen’s exchanges with the boot.
Easter’s try came after two minutes when Evans ghosted past Simon Shaw from a line-out to feed back inside for the England number eight to coast in under the posts.
The former All Black added the conversion and after the Wasps full-back opened his account Evans quickly re-established Quins seven-point gap with a penalty of his own.
Powell’s try, after some good work from Varndell and skipper Tom Rees, was converted to bring the scores level.
Flutey marked his return to Wasps by turning provider when he deftly gathered Jordan Turner-Hall’s spill from a tackle and found Varndell with his offload.
Former Samoa flanker Maurie Fa’asavalu has confirmed that he will be completing a return to Harlequins Rugby Union after leaving St.Helens. Terms of the deal announced on Friday were not disclosed. The 30-year-old Fa’asavalu, recuperating from shoulder surgery in May, will join the London club in October.
After impressing for Samoa in 2002-03, including all four games at the Rugby World Cup in Australia, Fa’asavalu was lured by rugby league club St. Helens, which turned him into a prop.
He has played 164 games for St. Helens and qualified on residency for Britain, for which he scored on debut against New Zealand in 2007, and for England, for which he played three times in 2008.
“I have no doubt that he will be able to make an immediate impact on returning to union,” says Quins director of rugby Conor O’Shea. “He will bring experience and a new dimension to our options and is exactly the type of person we want at this club.”
Harlequins rugby director Conor O’Shea will sit down with rugby’s refereeing hierarchy this week to discuss what he considers to be an alarming trend this season of incorrect decisions by officials.
O’Shea was unhappy with some of the decision as his side won their final game of the season 32-20 against Sale.
O’Shea said: “I find it disappointing that our discipline was poor on a number of occasions. That has been a problem this season for us.”
He added: “But I find it amazing that so many big decisions are wrong this campaign. There were big decisions out there with which I disagreed and which made the game tighter than it needed to be.
“Was Tom Williams really in touch as he headed for the goal line? Should there not have been a yellow card before Mathew Tait set out to score. There are similar situations that come to mind from this season and while I know it is a really difficult job out there I think it is something that needs addressing.”
But overall O’Shea sees a bright future for the club he joined six weeks ago as the long-awaited successor to Dean Richards, currently serving a three-year ban following last season’s fake blood scandal.
Harlequins ended the Guinness Premiership season with a five-try, five-point victory which had all the elements of their campaign, a mixture of the superb and the very ordinary.
In the end, however, they fully deserved to wrap up the season with a victory – with late determination proving decisive. However, they failed to achieve their target of a top six finish.
For former champions Sale, a campaign spent fighting to stave off relegation can hardly be regarded as a successful season..
It was a special day for wing David Strettle and hooker Tani Fuga – both playing their final games for Harlequins. England wing Strettle is joining Saracens while Fuga has become a free agent.
The hosts lost lock James Percival after only two minutes. He was hurt in an open play tackle and left the field on a stretcher after three minutes treatment to be replaced by Tomas Vallejos.
But two minutes later the mood in the home camp was a lot lighter as George Lowe raced clear up the left to open the scoring in fine style with a try created for him by Jordan Turner-Hall. Fly-half Nick Evans missed the conversion.