Harlequins’ Will Collier expects to get a major kick out of returning to Wembley Stadium for Derby Day.
Harlequins renew hostilities with their London rivals Saracens on Saturday in a showpiece showdown at the country’s biggest stadium, with 25-year-old Collier aiming to make his second appearance since returning to action following the broken leg he sustained in a match against Sale Sharks in January.
Collier played in his team’s 22-12 Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat to Saracens at Wembley a year ago, with Harlequins aiming to halt a run of three successive defeats to their near neighbours at the traditional home of English football.
With a bumper crowd expected to be in attendance once again, Collier says that he and his team-mates will feed off the experience of running out at Wembley as they bid to get one over the reigning European champions.
“Games between Harlequins and Saracens are always huge. We’ve got a great rivalry with them and they’re a quality outfit,” said Collier, whose team handed Saracens their first defeat in six months with a 17-10 triumph at Twickenham Stoop back in September.
🏃 Last time they met pic.twitter.com/NSu0Yeluef
— Harlequins 🃏 (@Harlequins) April 5, 2017
“Playing at Wembley is a great opportunity and I think that we always seem to thrive when we play at the big grounds, be that Twickenham or in a big European game in France.
“It is really different to playing at a normal ground – the dressing rooms are massive and it takes about a minute to walk to the toilet from your space in there.
“When you get out there, you just go on automatic a little bit and do what you’d normally do, but you do sometimes look up and think, ‘There are a lot of people here’.
“Some of the guys in the dressing room that are football fans get a little overexcited going there but they soon calm down.
“Danny Care is usually one of them – he’ll tell you how he almost went pro as a footballer and played in the same minis team as Jamie Vardy.
“It will be an amazing experience again and we can’t wait for it.”
Collier endured a lengthy spell on the sidelines after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament in January 2015 but says that he feels rejuvenated after returning to the fold following his latest serious injury.
The prop, who has made 104 Harlequins appearances, said: “Some people thought I’d broken my ankle but it was a clean break of my fibula.
“I’ve managed to turn it around and get back really quickly, and the fact that Harlequins had a lot of people injured at the same time as me helped me a lot.
“Usually, you’re recovering on your own but people like Chris Robshaw, George Lowe and Mark Lambert were also getting better at the same time.
“Eventually, you realise that these injuries are part and parcel of rugby and being out makes you appreciate playing more.”
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) April 5, 2017
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