Crane ready to shine at Twickenham

Date published: August 30 2016

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After a 10-year career with Leicester Tigers, number eight Jordan Crane is no stranger to the hallowed turf of Twickenham where he won three glittering Premiership Rugby titles.

In fact, the 30-year-old featured in no fewer than five finals during his time at Welford Road – scoring the only try of the game in 2009’s triumph over London Irish, and also made two of his three Test appearances for England at rugby HQ.

After a summer move to Premiership new boys Bristol, Crane says his next appearance at Twickenham should be all about the players that have hauled the side back up to the top table of English rugby after seven seasons in the Championship.

And while he will have to use all of his experience to help the West Country outfit to victory over a Harlequins' side looking to impress on their return to the London Double Header, Crane is relishing helping his new teammates through the experience.

“It’s a great start for us and very much a fitting start for all the boys that have been here the last three or four years who have got Bristol into this position,” he said.

“It is an opportunity for us straight away to play at a huge stadium; everyone is excited about the Aviva Premiership and playing in it, but this is a special reward for the opening day of the season.

“It will be a huge day for the club and the supporters that have stuck by it as well.

“If we can really compete with every team, every week we play and stay in the Aviva Premiership this season, it will be a really successful season for us.

“And that all starts at Twickenham.”

While maintaining their Premiership status on their return to the league is top of the priority list for Crane and Bristol, it is very much a different story for Harlequins.

They enter the London Double Header, which takes place on 3 September, hoping to make an early statement after the appointment of John Kingston as director of rugby – and oblige challenging rugby odds.

And although Crane believes the Londoners can challenge for Aviva Premiership Rugby glory again this year having last won the coveted title in 2012, he is expecting to lock horns with a similar looking side at Twickenham with most of Quins’ squad now well-established.

"Looking across the Aviva Premiership you could probably pick eight clubs that have the potential to be fighting for the title, and Harlequins are one of them," he added.

“There won’t be too many changes with John Kingston coming in, although [the now retired] Nick Easter had been in that environment for a long, long time.

“Graham Rowntree will bring a bit of edge to their forwards, but generally I think they will be fairly similar to the side they were last year.

“We’ll go there with no pressure really as it will all be on Quins in London. It’s a big game at Twickenham, and as we are the new boys they will be expecting to beat us.

“We’ll be quietly confident in what we can bring to the table, but it is the first taste of Aviva Premiership Rugby for a lot of the boys, so it will be a good indicator of where we are at as well.”

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