England wing Marland Yarde is convinced the arrival of world class talent at the Twickenham Stoop this season has contributed to Harlequins’ fast start in Aviva Premiership Rugby.
An opening day win against Wasps at the Stoop was followed by a narrow defeat away at Leicester Tigers, while last weekend’s 38-28 victory at Bath demonstrated the club’s newfound confidence and swagger.
A change of captaincy has seen England scrum-half Danny Care take the armband, while Quins have been bolstered in recent weeks by the return to club duty of Mike Brown, Chris Robshaw, Nick Easter and Joe Marler after World Cup duty with Stuart Lancaster.
But it’s the arrival of former Australian skipper James Horwill, veteran Welsh prop Adam Jones, Scottish flyer Tim Visser and midfield battering ram Jamie Roberts – who is to join the squad soon after starting up his studies again at Cambridge – that have breathed fresh life into Conor O’Shea’s men.
And Yarde is predicting more of the same in the months ahead will see Quins return to their perennial top-four finish after the disappointment of finishing eighth last season.
“The last few years we have continually finished in the top four and then last season to finish eighth was a huge disappointment for us all – none of us enjoyed watching the end of season play-offs,” he said.
“We’re not doing anything differently this season; our form so far has just been a continuation on how we finished last season.
“The new additions have brought some real strength and experience with them – it has given us all a real lift that’s for sure.
“James (Horwill) has played in some of the biggest games that exist for Australia and he has also captained them as well – that experience and quality is only going to help us.
“All of the new guys aren’t afraid to help players in their position and also the younger squad members but they have also brought a calming influence into the dressing room and that can only help.”
The new arrivals have certainly added strength in depth to the Harlequins squad and Yarde explained the increased competition is driving up standards.
Yarde, who missed out on World Cup selection in the summer, revealed his team-mates have created a newfound culture this season where no player wants to let down the squad.
“These new guys have given us confidence to go out and perform – when you look around the changing room and you know the bloke next to you is world class and going to put a real shift in, you know you need to do the same,” he added.
“All of the new guys have really bought into how we want to play, they have bought into Harlequins as a club and they have all contributed to our good start to the season.
“This season is all about backing up good performances and producing consistency and so far we have been doing that.”
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