It was a wonderful month of June for the future of Harlequins rugby. At the U20 World Cup four Harlequins academy members represented England in the tournament in which they won with victories over Italy, Scotland, Australia, and dominating performances against South Africa in the semifinals and Ireland in the finals, topping their Emerald Isle rivals, 45-21.
Sam Aspland-Robinson, a 19-year-old London born winger who has represented the Harlequins in the Aviva ‘A’ League, got on the score sheet in a pair of games, including the 39-17 semifinal win over South Africa. Southampton born Stan South, a former captain of the Harlequins under 18, and hooker Charlie Piper, also made appearances for England in the tournament. But the real star in the making is centre Joe Marchant, who appeared in eight matches for the Harlequins last season and scored a try in the April meeting with the Newcastle Falcons. He was great throughout the World Cup, was instrumental in England’s semifinal win, and starred in the finals with a pair of back-breaking tries. The reviews on Marchant are universal–he has a very bright future in Premiership Rugby.
July, on the other hand, began with an ode to the past. This upcoming season is the 150th anniversary of the Quins inaugural season of 1866, when they began as Hampstead Football Club. And in recognition of the special season coming up at Twickenham Stoop the team has introduced a new retro anniversary kit, designed by Adidas. There are also a number of commemorative events currently in the offing for the upcoming season to help raise funds for the Harlequins Foundation.
And in looking ahead to August, all eyes will be on the present, and Rio, as rugby sevens makes it Olympic debut, with Harlequins fullback Ollie Lindsay-Hague making the final Team GB squad of 12. He is one of just two players on the team that is making the transition to sevens.
All of this points to a great summer for Harlequins supporters. But centre George Lowe says that the most important thing for the team this season is a return to top form. “Last season was disappointing in some ways. We started well, but couldn’t maintain it, and that’s what we are looking to improve.”
Struggling late in the season on the road dropped the Quins down the table and into seventh place. But at The Stoop the team was quite successful. In 16 home matches the Harlequins recorded 12 wins, 1 draw, and only three losses. And with an average of over 32 points scored at home, the 265,000 supporters that attended a home match were always treated to the best the club had to offer. Which is likely one of the main reasons Betway Sports has the Harlequins at a very respectable 21/1 to be the Premiership’s Grand Final winner. The Saracens, last year’s winners, are once again the pre-season favourites.