Conor O’Shea may be leaving but the Harlequins culture will remain following the appointment of new director of rugby John Kingston – that’s according to England scrum-half Danny Care.
Just two Aviva Premiership Rugby rounds and a European Challenge Cup final remain before O’Shea leaves a club he has spearheaded for the past six years.
But while he starts afresh with Italy, things will look very similar at Harlequins after Kingston was confirmed as the Irishman’s replacement.
In his 15 years at the club, Kingston – who served eight of those as head coach – has cultivated the talents of England forwards such as Chris Robshaw, Joe Marler and new defence coach Nick Easter.
Graham Rowntree, the only external appointment among the backroom re-shuffle, comes with huge pedigree as forwards coach of England for the past eight years and also the 2013 series-winning British & Irish Lions.
Care is adamant that the Board were right to promote their new director of rugby from within, despite the number of world-class applicants who applied for the job.
“It’s great news for the club. JK (John Kingston) is part of the furniture here, he knows the club inside out and I can’t think of a man more befitting of the role,” said Care. “He has worked so hard to get here. To hear David Ellis, the Chief Executive, say that some of the world’s great coaches applied for this job and JK beat them to it – it says it all. Hopefully we’re set for a successful few years.
“He is a very inspirational bloke. He speaks from the heart, he truly, really cares about the club and the way we play.
“He believes in us, the club and the Quins style. He gives you the licence to go out and express yourself as a rugby player and that is important. It’s why he is so popular in the dressing room.
“Conor has laid the foundations and I think that was one thing the Board did not want to lose was the strong foundations which have been laid. They want to build on that and take things forward. JK and Graham Rowntree coming in, plus Nick Easter is great. Promoting from within is important.
“It keeps that culture, we’ll get some outside thoughts from Graham, but we're keeping that culture which is vital.”
As captain, Care is not just leading the charge on the pitch for Harlequins as the 29-year-old has been involved in Premiership Rugby’s Aviva Tackling Numbers programme over the last two years.
Through the programme, 40,000 children have been introduced to maths and numbers outside of the regular classroom environment, with Aviva Premiership Rugby players delivering lessons.
Adding up tries, conversions, penalties and drop goals has proved a budding mathematician’s dream and Care admits every child he has met has given the programme a big thumbs up.
“I got involved and the kids were doing a load of sums, adding up scores and points you get for tries and working it all out – it’s great we can use rugby to help kids learn,” Care added. “It is great to get into schools that don’t play rugby and take it to them. Every kid I see loves rugby which is why this scheme is so important.
“For me, growing up and playing rugby was huge. It has such a big effect on you as a person. Being in a team, being in as team environment teaches you a lot of social skills; how to talk to people, how to listen, how to deal with information and working under pressure. All of these are key things which mould you into a good person.”
Danny Care was speaking in support of Aviva Tackling Numbers. In partnership with Premiership Rugby, #AvivaTacklingNumbers helps 7-9 year olds put foundations in place for better financial skills later in life through the power of rugby. Take a maths test at aviva.co.uk/tacklingnumbers for the chance to win Aviva Premiership Rugby Final tickets.