Quins’ Graham eyes Premiership Rugby 7s as springboard for success
Harlequins academy head coach Howard Graham says the Premiership Rugby 7s are a springboard for success next season
Harlequins academy head coach Howard Graham insists his side will be going all out to land a first J.P Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s title later this week as they look to use it as a springboard to success next season.
Last year, Quins narrowly missed out on a spot in the series finale after finishing third in their pool as London rivals Saracens and London Irish progressed, the latter going on to lift the title.
This time around Harlequins will once again face off against their London rivals with Wasps joining Saracens, Irish and Quins at Allianz Park for the third and final pool stage on August 3 with the top two progressing to the series final in Bath a week later.
And with the Aviva Premiership season starting a month after the JP Morgan 7s finale at the Rec, Graham has charged his troops with starting the year as they mean to go on by landing the first silverware of the season.
“It is not a bad pre-season warm up is it? Blowing thoroughly for a few minutes in a Quins shirt,” Graham said.
“We take it very seriously indeed and not just for the fitness side of things but also because we feel it has a direct effect on the XVs side too.
“It isolates players and highlights certain strengths or weaknesses of individuals because if you can’t make a tackle or stop someone going past you for example then there is no where to hide on a 7s pitch.
“It is important for us because it is how we want our guys to play in the first team, an expansive, free-flowing game.”
By the time Harlequins take to the field they will already know who they could meet in the final with the other two pools taking place on Thursday and
Friday this week in Gloucester and Northampton.
And Graham admits he will not just be assessing his squad at the tournament but using the occasion to scout their local opposition ahead the first game of the season against Wasps during the traditional London Double header at Twickenham.
“It is the first marker for us against our London rivals and you never know what sort of team the other guys will put out,” he added.
“London Irish are the holders but I think they might be using it to bleed in youngsters this time around while Saracens are always strong.
“So it is good to get an eye on these teams ahead of the season whilst going for silverware at the same time.”
The third leg of J.P Morgan Premiership Rugby 7s will be at Allianz Park, the home of Saracens, on Saturday 3 August. For tickets and more information visit: www.jpmorgan7s.com or follow @jpmorganrugby7s