Competition at tighthead prop was tough enough before Adam Jones joined Harlequins but Will Collier can happily reflect on the Welsh legend’s arrival as a win-win move.
In the 2013-14 season, Collier started ten Aviva Premiership Rugby games for Harlequins and earned a call-up to the England Saxons but, the following year, injuries and the rise of Kyle Sinckler saw his opportunities diminish.
Throw Jones – a two-time British & Irish Lions tourist with 95 Wales caps to his name – in the mix and the 24-year-old could have been forgiven for cursing his bad luck.
However, Collier has knuckled down, learnt a thing or two from the new arrival and begun looking towards a brighter future at the Stoop.
“Off the field Adam has really taken us under his wing and I can’t speak highly enough of him,” he said.
“The competition is great between us two but we are both still really young in terms of tighthead props and we can support each other really well.
“I feel like we struggled a bit at times without someone like Adam here and we have both picked up injuries in the last couple of seasons.
“Having him around to take that load off has made a big difference and we are both feeling fresher for it.
“He is a legend of the game and I used to watch him play for the Lions when I was 14 or 15, so when you sign him and he turns up and he’s this really chilled Welshman, it is amazing.”
On the pitch Harlequins have stuttered of late, losing each of their last two games – most recently 29-23 at Sale Sharks, where Sinckler was handed the starting berth.
That saw them slip back to eighth in Aviva Premiership Rugby but with the table so tight, back-to-back home games against Bath Rugby and Worcester Warriors bring with them the opportunity to bounce back.
“On the surface, after losing two big games it all seems terrible but up until those last two games it has been great,” he added.
“I thought we actually played really good rugby at times against Sale but as it is in this league, the margins are so small.
“It’s not that kind of intimidating stadium, like Franklin’s Gardens, Welford Road or the Shed at Kingsholm. Their team just thrives in the environment and they have got a very good DOR who gets them up for it.
“We have got two big home games coming up and we pride ourselves on how we play in front of the Stoop crowd.”