HE WAIT IS FINALLY OVER. THIS SATURDAY WILL SEE THE OPENING ROUND OF THE INAUGURAL TYRELLS PREMIER 15S COMPETITION AND HARLEQUINS CO-HEAD COACH GARY STREET ADMITS THAT HE, AND THE SQUAD, CAN’T WAIT FOR IT ALL TO GET STARTED.
Since the announcement of the new league structure in January preparation has been in full flow, the training is now complete and a league opener against Wasps Ladies awaits.
“It’s a really exciting time for us,” Street began. “Saturday sees us hitting the ground running for real, we are just excited to get going now.
“Due to a number of the World Cup players being unavailable, there is an exciting opportunity for a number of players to lay their marker down and make it difficult for the returning internationals next month.
“We have had a really good preparation and with the support behind us, in terms of the strength and conditioning and the medical support, it’s meant that our squad is in great shape and we are just really excited to get a real game under our belts.”
With nine months build up and hype around the launch, you could forgive all the teams involved for feeling the pressure to perform and kick the league off with a bang. But Street sees this as an exciting opportunity.
“We won’t be seeing the opening of the league as pressure,” he continued. “It’s an opportunity for us to keep improving. It’s a long season and we have lots to do. The feeling in the air is that there are opportunities for everyone. It’s a different feeling to last year as there is much more at stake, but we are really excited about it.”
GUILDFORD, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 10: The Harlequins Ladies players pose for a squad picture during the Harlequins Ladies Squad Photo call for the 2017/18 Tyrrells Premier 15s Season at Surrey Sports Park on September 10, 2017 in Guildford, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)
Wasps Ladies form the opposition for Saturday and having played one another in the pre-season, Street knows all too well what to expect.
Wasps have had an excellent recruitment drive over the summer. They have also been incredibly serious about their preparation for this season, I believe they started their pre-season in April, and have carried on from last season in to this.
“They will be incredibly organised and will be potential contenders come the end of the season, so we will have to be on our game. We played them in the pre-season so we saw what they are all about, we were able to look closely in terms of how they work as a team and as individuals, so we will have done our prep. We are looking forward to getting out there.”
Having taken charge of Aylesford Bulls Ladies last season, before formally coming under the Harlequins umbrella, and providing a return of a League and Cup Double, Street has healthy ambitions for the coming campaign formally under the Harlequins name.
“Our objectives this season are to finish in the top four and get that playoff place, we have a big challenge ahead of us, but it’s a great challenge. We have brought in some world class players over the summer and they will take a little while to bed in, following the World Cup.
What is exciting is that there is so much depth to our squad, we are all very excited for Saturday.”