Super League favourites St Helens stomped all over the good vibes at the Stoop on Saturday, as they rolled over London's latest incarnation of a top-flight rugby league team, Harlequins, 40-16. The result was unsurprising, given that the Saints, with GB captian Paul Sculthorpe back in action and new signing Jason Cayless bristling with aggression, look like a very tidy outfit indeed. But the fact remains that Harlequins will have to start producing results quickly if they are to keep on attracting crowds of 8,000 to their south-west London home.
The results should come. The name, ground and kit might have changed, but this is the same team that finished sixth in last year's competition as the London Broncos, qualifying for the play-offs in the process and then losing in the first round to the eventual champions, Bradford. London has itself a decent rugby league team, so a trip to the Stoop this season should be well worth it.
They were pulling out all the stops on Saturday, with abseiling team mascots, a brand new cheerleading outfit and plenty of help, in the form of a leaflet explaining the rules and tannoy announcements of the ref's decisions, for those spectators who usually come to the ground to watch rugby union. The ground itself, with the opening of the new west stand, is now a first-class rugby venue that should allow the rugby league side to feel more at home than they might of done as tenants of Brentford FC. This could be a big move for the London side, let's hope it works out.
Of course, the Harlequins are not the capital's only professional rugby league team, as we also have the London Skolars, who play in Division 2 of the National League and are based in Tottenham. Their league campaign doesn't kick off until April, but right now they're involved in the Northern Rail Cup. They played St Albans Centurions on Sunday, but unfortunately we can't find the result anywhere. We're sure they won.