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Sloan eyeing up European glory with Harlequins

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Harlequins have a proud history in the European Rugby Challenge Cup and, after they made a flying start to the competition last week, Harry Sloan is already eyeing up another title.

Quins lifted the trophy in 2001, 2004 and again in 2011, when Nick Evans held his nerve to convert a late Gonzalo Camacho try and secure a 19-18 victory over Stade Francais in the final.

They kicked off this season’s edition by seeing off another French opponent last Thursday, albeit by a more comfortable margin, running in six tries to beat Montpellier 41-18.

And Sloan, who started that match at inside centre, believes Quins have made the perfect start in their quest to emulate Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Gloucester Rugby’s efforts last year and go all the way – with a trip to Cardiff Blues next on the agenda.

“Any competition we go into, we want to win it,” said Sloan “We are going into this competition to win it but it is also a chance this weekend to get boys who haven’t played too much a chance. We have got a very competitive squad.

“We won it in 2011 and Gloucester last year so hopefully we can bring the trophy home again.

“The first half against Montpellier was pretty intense and we played a lot of set-piece but in the second half the ball started to dry up a bit and we started to throw it around. We were having a go from our own 22, which is great to see.

“We have four wins from five matches so far this season, which is pretty good, and we have come up against some good teams. All in all we are pretty happy.

“It should be good on Cardiff’s 4G pitch – that will suit us because we like to throw it about a bit. They have had a bit of a slow start to the season but any Welsh side likes an English side coming down to their patch.”

Among the try scorers last week was England captain Chris Robshaw, who also put pen to paper for a new contract at the Stoop this week.

“It is very pleasing,” continued Sloan. “He is an absolute workhorse and everyone at the club is very happy to have him.

“When you come in on Monday morning after a game and look at the tackle statistics, he is always at the top of it, without fail.

“He is always good around the pitch and first to the breakdown and his leadership off the pitch as well is incredible. Everyone looks up to him.”

With fellow flankers Luke Wallace and Jack Clifford enjoying a bright start to the season, however, Robshaw faces a tough job just to break back into the starting XV.

And that is a challenge with which Sloan is familiar, the 21-year-old fighting off the competition to make four starts already this season.

He added: “I am very happy playing at 12. It is good to have a starting jersey at the start of the season.
“Obviously I have got competition coming in with Jamie Roberts! But that’s a great chance to learn as well.”

To see all of the 2015-16 Aviva Premiership Rugby season fixtures, please click here #AvivaPrem

 

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