Nick Evans has backed Chris Robshaw to retain the captaincy of the England national team and also go on to lead Harlequins FC to more trophies and glory.
Robshaw was rested for the England team’s tour of Argentina over the summer where Tom Wood of the Northampton Saints was given charge of the team and Stuart Lancaster is now regarding Robshaw solely as a blind side flanker and this has led to speculation about him being able to hold on the skipper’s arm band.
However, the former #10 for the All Blacks is adamant his teammate is still the best man to lead the England team from the front and according to Evans, the player will prove his critics wrong over time and help The Quins to life the Aviva Premiership title once again, just like he did a couple of years ago.
According to Evans, he expects a stellar year from Chris and he hopes he proves a lot of his critics wrong. He went on to add that critics have a short term memory problem and they seem to forget it was the Harlequins FC man who led England to a record points victory over New Zealand and went on to collect two man of the match awards in the Six Nations.
Robshaw, just like Nick Evans, has also put pen to paper to a new contract at the club and the two of them are getting ready to lead the club in the race for the Premiership once again as they kick off their campaign this weekend when Harlequins FC host the Newcastle Falcons at Twickenham Stoop.
And Evans is confident Robshaw knows he has a lot to prove this season and will rise to the challenge that has been laid in front of him by his critics.
Harlequins FC is a professional Rugby Football Union club that currently plays in the Aviva Premiership, the top tier of domestic rugby in England.
The club plays its home matches at the fables Twickenham Stoop stadium in London, which is also the base of the England national rugby union team. When the game was still amateur, many players of the club used to work in the London financial districts and since then, the club has retained strong ties with the financial sector of the city.
The club was founded long back in 1866, when the Hampstead Football Club was formed, playing its first official match the following year. However, with a growing membership base that broke the barriers of the region, the need for the club to change its name was felt and was renamed to Harlequins FC. The club officials came up with the name with the help of a dictionary and used the term ‘harlequin’ because they wanted the club to retain the HFC monogram.
However, not all the members of the club took the name change too kindly and there was an exodus of members from the club who formed their own club after sometime, which is now known as the London Wasps and shares a fierce rivalry with the club. The club led a nomadic existence in its first forty years and during that time, played in as many as 15 venues before being invited to the Rugby Union and asked to play at Twickenham.
Since then, the club has retained its home base at the venue, going on to renovate it to give it its modern look. Although not the most successful club, Harlequins FC is without a doubt one of the most famous club in the English professional rugby scene with the club drawing its fans from all over the country.
Aviva Premiership Rugby Football Union club Harlequins FC secured what could be the first of a possible treble of trophies this season as they lifted the Anglo Welsh LV= Cup defeating their fellow Aviva Premiership rivals the Sale Sharks by a 32-14 margin at Sixways.
This win over The Sharks marks the first time that the London side has won the domestic knockout Cup competition in any of its several guises since the 1991 season. Winger Tom Williams, centre Tom Casson, number eight Tom Guest and flank player Luke Wallace all crossed the line for The Quins.
Ben Botica, the fly half for The Quins added another 12 points for the reigning Aviva Premiership champions with three conversions and two penalties. The only touchdown for the Sale Sharks came when centre Johnny Leota crossed the line for them in second half. The win was almost deserved for Harlequins FC and having won the first title of the season, they will now look towards winning the Aviva Premiership title again, where they are already leading the table and looking good for making the playoffs and are also in contention for the Heineken Cup.
The Quins raced to a 8-0 lead quite early on and Botica kicked a 40 meter ball before piling on the pressure even more on the Sale Sharks.
The match was mostly a very uneven battle between two sides, one of which is fighting for a treble of trophies while the other is fighting to survive in the Aviva Premiership and the way Harlequins FC got the better of their opponents, it clearly goes on to show the gulf in class between the top and the bottom sides of the Aviva Premiership, something which the Rugby Football Union must address in order to maintain equilibrium in the league.
Nick Easter of the reigning Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins FC has slammed the English rugby authorities for their over reliance on foreign born players for the England national team and the no. 8 believes that this tendency is ultimately bringing about the downfall of the English game as a whole.
Easter, who has himself won 47 caps for his country, has not been selected by the new head coach Stuart Lancaster after the team’s disastrous Rugby World Cup 2011 campaign when they were knocked out in the quarter finals stages.
Lancaster has turned to the likes of young heads in the form of Thomas Waldrom of the Leicester Tigers, who was born in New Zealand. And Easter has been particularly irked by the way in which the Kiwi was fast tracked into the England setup as soon as it was discovered that he qualifies to play for the English national team by virtue of having and English grandmother. The no. 8 for Harlequins FC went on to state that he doesn’t have any problems with the likes of Manu Tuilagi, born in Samoa as well as Dylan Hartley, born in New Zealand because these two were brought up in England and passed through the various age group levels in the country itself.
However, Easter believes it is an absolute insult to English rugby as a whole to fast track someone into the English game without him knowing anything about how the game is played in the country.
And the 34 year old, who has been in fine form for Harlequins FC believes he still has it in him to be a better player in the squad than these young players will ever be, and still hasn’t given up hope of playing for England in the Rugby World Cup of 2015.
Aviva Premiership Rugby Union club and the reigning champions of the league Harlequins FC have opened up a one point lead at the top, as they find themselves out on their own at the top of their pool in the prestigious Heineken Cup, raking in a massive 19 points from their first four games of the 18th edition of the competition. Fellow four from four clubs Toulon and ASM Clermont Auvergne are both on 18 points as the race for the quarter finals intensify.
It is expected that the race for a place in the quarter finals of the biggest club competition in European rugby will enter the final straight in the new calendar year when the tournament resumes after the Christmas break with the four best group winners earning what is an invaluable advantage of being able to play their quarter final fixtures at home.
Round 3 produced a lot of surprises but for the English champions Harlequins FC, the newcomers to the tournament Zebre could manage little resilience as they were thumped 53-3 at home at Twickenham Stoop, completing their double over the minnows of the tournament.
The Quins take on Connacht Rugby at home again in the next round, aware that only a single match point from the encounter would be enough to mathematically secure their progress into the next round before the group stage ends with the final encounter with French side Biarritz Olympique whom they lead by a massive 10 points at this moment.
Conor O’Shea, the Director of Rugby of the club stated that many people have been saying that Harlequins FC has been struggling but he pointed out that the team is still unbeaten in Europe and has won 13 out of their 16 matches, which goes to say a lot about the performance of the club.
Aviva Premiership Rugby Union side and reigning champions Harlequins FC is determined to prove that their first ever title triumph was no fluke when they begin the defense of their title against the London Wasps in an opening day double header at the Twickenham Stoop.
This match will be a part of the London Double Header that has almost become the customary kickoff for every new season of the Aviva Premiership with which will see two more clubs from the capital, Saracens FC and the London Irish taking on each other in the second match.
The ground at Twickenham is a just a few hundred meters from the home stadium of Harlequins FC at Stoop and the club last played at the headquarters of English rugby when they defeated the Leicester Tigers, the perennial contenders for the Premiership title 30-23 in the playoff final last season to win their first title. The Quins, who are still led by Chris Robshaw has Nick Evans of New Zealand in their roster and Conor O’Shea, the coach of the side has challenged his players to emulate the achievements of last season and create history.
According to O’Shea, if they managed to achieve that, it will be a brilliant achievement in the history of the club. He explained that ever since the final whistle was blown at the end of that playoff final, the team had been saying that good things are capable of winning the title but the great teams manage to kick on from one success.
He also stated that being introduced at the champions of the Premiership will be a new experience for the players of Harlequins FC but he insisted that it won’t make much of a difference to the side considering the way they go about doing their things.
Conor O’Shea, the Director of Rugby of Harlequins FC, the champions of the Aviva Premiership Rugby Union league, the top league in English professional rugby, has delivered a warning towards the team’s rivals in the league, stating that The Quins are yet to fulfill their true potential, falling way short of it during their title winning season in 2011/12.
The champions are currently without their string of international stars and their absence became extremely evident as they suffered a 31-15 defeat at the hands of Castres in a pre-season friendly a few days back, as they look to get up and running to defend the title that they staked claim to back in May.
The Quins begin their defense of the title on the 1st of September as they take on local rivals the London Wasps in a London double header at Twickenham Stoop and Harlequins FC is looking to make the best possible start by going one up against their arch local rivals. And although the defeat to Castres was not the sort of start that O’Shea was looking for at the beginning of the season, he has insisted that the team is determined to excel the performances of the side that thumped the Leicester Tigers in the playoff final for the Premiership title.
Speaking about the performances of his side, O’Shea made it clear that the squad is nowhere near where they are capable of. He added that the team wants to be the best in everything it does and that includes petty stats as well – admitting that the side has plenty of room where it needs to improve upon. He added that Harlequins FC will rotate the squad and use all the players so that all of them are fit when the business end of the season begins.
Nick Easter, the former England captain and No. 8 for the Aviva Premiership Rugby Union side Harlequin FC believes that the champions are in a good state at the moment and they have the momentum with them to mount a challenge at securing back to back Premiership titles.
The Quins were in fine form last season, managing to remain on top of the leader board before the four top teams went into the playoff rounds and they and they carried that form into the playoffs as well, defeating the record champions the Leicester Tigers in the final to secure their first top flight title in the new format.
And Easter, who has been with the club since 2004 and has been witness to all the scandals and pains that the clubs has gone through including the Blood-gate scandal and relegation to the RFU Championship believes that the team is in a brilliant position with all the young players being blooded into the side which only means a secure future for Harlequin FC.
Moreover, the likes of Chris Robshaw, the club captain and the new signings that the club has made in the close season will prove pivotal as the club goes in search for the elusive consecutive titles and also readies itself for a challenge in Europe in the Heineken Cup. Easter also lauded the Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea as the man responsible for turning around the fortunes of the club.
Easter also believes that the kind of form the youngsters have shown for Harlequin FC in the JP Morgan Asset Management Premiership Rugby 7s means that O’Shea will have a lot more options at his disposal and can surprise the opponents with his team selection as he can draw from an extremely talented squad of players of youth and experience.
Tony Diprose, the defense coach as well as the academy manager of newly crowned Aviva Premiership champions Harlequin FC has signed a new two year contract extension with the club that will keep him at the Twickenham Stoop till the end of 2014/15 season.
The Quins, which finished the regular season at the top of the table and won the playoff final against the Leicester Tigers handsomely boats one of the best defensive records in all the major leagues in Europe and it is being believed that this contract extension is just reward for the work he has done in turning the side into championship material.
Asked about this new contract extension, the 39 year old stated that it feels as if he is learning, developing and maturing hugely by being a part of the coaching set up of the first team and added that after the success of the season, it just makes him more driven to continue the cycle of success and he is keen to keep the side rolling and also looking forward to develop some of the players from the academy of Harlequin FC to stars for the first team.
Having retired from playing in 2006 after 15 long years at the top with various clubs, Diprose took over the duties of the academy at the club in 2008 and has since then, turned it into one of the best academies in the country whose infrastructure can match any of the club’s academies in France.
Conor O’Shea, the Director of Rugby for Harlequin FC stated that the work that Tony has done with first team as well as with developing the youngsters has been nothing but phenomenal and it is only good for the club to keep hold of him for as long as they possibly can.
French side Toulon has set up an all French affair in the semi final of the European Challenge Cup against Stade Francais after they defeated the Aviva Premiership side the Harlequins Football Club in the quarter final match to send the current holders and three time winners of the competition packing.
Toulon were, by far, the most dominant side in the match, outscoring the English side by three ties to one with a score of 37-8 thanks to tries from Steffon Armitage, Sebastien Tillous and Benjamin Lapyeyre, with only Danny Care pulling one back in the dying minutes of the match, which was nothing but a consolation for The Quins.
Toulon, who were runners up in the competition in the 2010 edition saw Jonny Wilkinson covert one chance as well as five penalties and their Australian centre recruit Matt Giteau also managing a penalty score.
Harlequins Football Club has been sitting on top of the Aviva Premiership from the start almost, ahead of favourites Gloucester and it was expected that they would do well in Europe too but the way they were knocked out of the competition was humiliating for the club.
The Quins had to field a much depleted side thanks to injuries to their new recruit from New Zealand Nick Evans at fly half as well as Chris Robshaw, the captain and in a way, started the match already on the back foot but not even the biggest hater of The Quins would have expected such a dreadful performance from the Aviva Premiership side.
This means that the semi finals of the competitions could still turn out to be an all French affair if the other two sides left in the competition manage to overcome their respective opponents but the conquerors of Harlequins Football Club, Toulon look favorites to secure the title.