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Harlequins’ Sam Twomey relishing Graham Rowntree guidance

Graham Rowntree’s return to coaching with Harlequins could be the missing link for the London side as they seek a return to Aviva Premiership Rugby’s top table.

Harlequins have missed out on the top four in the last two seasons, but with John Kingston taking over as director of rugby and former England and Lions coach Graham Rowntree taking charge of the forwards, Twomey feels that could be about to change.

Kingston’s side kicked off their Aviva Premiership season with a battling 21-19 victory over newly-promoted Bristol Rugby at the London Double Header and face another tough trip to face Sale Sharks at the AJ Bell Stadium on Friday.

Twomey had a breakthrough season for Quins last year and the 24-year-old is desperate to kick on and continue improving, with Rowntree and former Australia captain James Horwill the perfect mentors.

“Graham Rowntree has helped me with my scrummaging and getting more processes through my head. It is not something where you just get your head down and push,” Twomey said.

“Graham has had such a big influence. The way he does things, we are being coached under more pressure. We are not going into to a lineout or a scrum just fresh, having walked there.

“For me, him having coached Paul O’Connell, I just want him to teach me and tell me everything he knows. I want every ounce of knowledge he has from them, to try and absorb it and add it to my game

“There is a lot to it and being able to help the front-row out as much as possible, as well as winning good solid ball for everyone else.

“You’re not just fresh from a water break, you are under pressure and so you are able to deal with situations better when you’re in that situation in a game.

“In a game you’re not going to be fresh as a daisy, so it is going to be better for us on the pitch.”

Rowntree coached England through two World Cups and was part of the 2-1 Lions Test series win over Australia in 2013, which according to Twomey, means he is an incredibly respected figure around Harlequins – something that is vital to the likes of Kyle Sinckler and Luke Wallace.

“He has coached England, the Lions and you know that whatever he says he means and it is going to be the right thing,” Twomey said.

“If you see the respect that Adam Jones has for him and you think ‘if Bomb – who is an absolute legend of the game – is giving him that much respect, he must know what he is talking about’.

“When Graham is telling him to do something about his scrummaging, you think ‘OK I should listen too’.

“The experience he has will help us to become a better forward pack and a successful team.”

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