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Harlequins look for a "double"
Brian McDermott talks to Al Jazeera ahead of the big game against St Helens.
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2007 06:44 GMT

Brian McDermott: From his Bradford days and part of the fearsome foursome [GALLO/GETTY]

The London Harlequins prepare for their match against St Helens on Sunday focused on their own performance rather than concerning themselves with the World Champions.
 
Having been beaten last week by Huddersfield 46-16, the 'Quins returned to the drawing board before focusing on attempting to achieve their first Super League "double" over Saints.
"We've had a good preparation this and corrected a lot of our mistakes from the Huddersfield game, in the first half of the week we really focused on our own performance before thinking about St Helens later in the week," head coach Brian McDermott told Al Jazeera.

While the arrival of a team that includes a backline of Sean Long, Leon Pryce, Matt Gidley and Paul Wellens may strike fear into the hearts of many opponents, McDermott believes his side had nothing but "healthy" respect for Daniel Anderson's side.

"They certainly have a talented squad and it's a great set up up there, but I’m more than happy with the squad I have," Mc Dermott said.

"While we respect them, I still expect us to go above and beyond them on Sunday."

While victory would be a huge boost to the side's top six ambitions, the former Bradford forward refuses to put any special emphasis over the title favourites.

"I can't see victory as any sort of special catalyst for the season, it would simply provide us with a valuable two points.

"We have Catalans the following week and they have a pretty formidable side and I wouldn’t see a victory over Saints giving us any advantage in that game, in the same way I wouldn’t see defeat ruining our chances either."

Defence matters

If they are to gain the desired result, it's the Londoners defence that needs to improve, and it's area that McDermott has worked hard on this week, but he also revealed an innate frustration with coaching defence.

"Our defensive fraility is the biggest concern at the moment.  But it can be difficult because defence is the easiest thing to coach, but the hardest thing to produce."

It is also hard to focus any defensive effort on one area when preparing for the Super League champions.

"The thing about St Helens, is that they don't have one or two threats, they have four or five. It might sounded clichéd but the fact is in this year's Super League there are simply no sides that can't be broken down," the former Royal Marine said.

Core support

The club has worked hard behind the scenes on promotion for this game with plenty of offers looking to entice new and old Rugby League fans to the Stoop.

And while the club has worked hard building excitement about the clash, the players have tried to avoid getting caught up in the drama.

"We all make an effort not to get caught up in what is written about the club, but having said that the crowd always makes a massive difference on game day."

While the Harlequins are still attempting to gain a real foothold in the sporting landscape of London those fans already supporting the side are received gratefully.

"We've got a great core group of supporters that the boys love playing in front of, they make a lot of noise and provide a great atmosphere."

Brian McDermott and his team hope they are making a lot of noise when the final whistle blows around 4.30pm on Sunday.

The London Harlequins play St Helens on Sunday April 29 at the Stoop.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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