All Black centre Francis Saili is hoping to be given the medical all clear next week to kick start a Harlequins career that has seen him spend just 37 minutes on the pitch for the Premiership club this season following his move from Munster in the summer.
Saili, the club’s major new signing, is a physical threat in mid-field and is seen as the natural replacement for Jamie Roberts, who is deciding about his future which could see the Lions and Wales centre consider a period in Japan. Roberts has previously played in France and has the option of returning to Wales.
Saili , 26,was stretchered off in his second appearance with concussion after misjudging a tackle on England lock Joe Launchbury in the 41-10 European Champions Cup defeat to Wasps on October 22 and has been undergoing scans to try and determine when he can return to playing. The All Black has been on a long list of players unavailable due to injury this season leaving John Kingston, the director of rugby, with plenty of problems to solve. However, the possible return of Saili along with fellow centre Joe Marchant and outside half Demetri Catrikilis plus captain James Horwill during January will significantly strengthen the squad.
Kingston said; “Saili goes to see the specialist again on January 15 and could get the all clear to play again it is that simple. It has improved markedly and recently went back to see the specialist but they are not happy to let him loose at the moment. They are taking results on scan and they want to see him rest a bit more from contact because he is training already.”
Quins prop Joe Marler will discover tonight if he will miss England’s opening Six Nations match with Italy in Rome on February 4 after being sent off in the 30-29 defeat by Sale on Saturday. Saracens No10 Owen Farrell was last night named the winner of the Pat Marshall Award presented by the Rugby Union Writers’ Club to the Personality of the Season.