Kingston demands big season

Date published: July 5 2016

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Harlequins director of rugby John Kingston admits that with all eyes on the club in its 150th season, they need to have a strong campaign.

Quins have finished outside the top six in both of the last two seasons after a golden few years which saw them win the Premiership in 2012.

But following the departure of Conor O’Shea, Kingston and Graham Rowntree lead Harlequins into a new era in a landmark season for the club.

“I think the added pressure lies in the fact we have not been where we want to be, and that tells you the standards we set because we reached the final of a European trophy last year,” said Kingston ahead of a special season for the Twickenham Stoop outfit.

“What pressure is on us lies in looking to get into the business of winning trophies, we had a golden two or three years, it’s a little while ago now, we want to try and get back to that.

“The fact that it’s our 150th year, of course it would be lovely to win something but it would have been lovely to win a trophy in our 149th too.”

Kingston joined Harlequins in 2001 and was head coach last season as the club reached the Challenge Cup final against Montpellier.

Around two-thirds of the Harlequins squad have returned from their end-of-season break while some, who featured in international tours, have only just started.

Kingston is expecting the full squad to be reunited in August and already has his feet firmly under the table in his new role, with recruitment and the management of players and staff high on his agenda.

“It’s about me focusing in on the things I think are priorities,” he said.

“We have got to make sure we get the recruitment right, ┬áthe management of the players is right and that the management of the playing staff is right.

“I am looking and will be looking at challenging constructively various departments in various areas, including the coaching side.

“It’s about people getting used to me not being out on the field all the time, certainly not barking the instructions all the time, but taking a bigger overview of what’s required and what’s necessary.

“I’m just the figurehead and it’s a team thing, it’s a team effort that will get this great club to the places it wants to be.”

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