This weekend sees England take on the All Blacks in New Zealand for the first time since 1998. After their victory over the New Zealand Maoris earlier this week, England have a great chance of defeating the All Blacks in their own back yard, but it will no doubt be a very difficult challenge.
It says something about the rarity of the fixture that this will be the first time that Jason Leonard has played for England in New Zealand, and that the last time he played in New Zealand was for the British Lions in 1993. We wish both him and Will Greenwood all the best on Saturday morning.
Mike Worsley, having played for five minutes in the win over the Maoris, has now joined the England squad in North America along with six other players who were in New Zealand, although he is not included in the squad to play Canada this Saturday in the Churchill Cup.
However, the rugby goes on in the UK as well, as this Friday sees the start of the Under 21 Rugby World Cup. England are facing last years losing finalists Australia at Iffley Road, Oxford. Within the England squad are three Quins players; Ugo Monye, Chris Bell and our young 'Player of the Year' award winner Henry Barratt. England will then face Japan next Tuesday and then France on 21st June at Newbury rugby club.
Back here at the training ground it has been relatively quiet, with so few players around. There are a number of things to be done; arranging the Second XV fixture list, preparing the pre-season training schedule, organising the pre-season training camp in France, as well as improving the equipment and technology used at Aldershot.
While all this is going on, the coaching staff are spending time looking at videos of games from all over the world; Super 12's, France, international rugby, etc - looking for ideas to bring into our own game for the forthcoming season.
I am aware that you are expecting news on our final signing this week. We have had to delay the announcement for a few days but hope to be able to confirm this sometime next week.
In terms of our pre-season games, we are still waiting to confirm our opponents for Friday 5th September but we are expecting to play at the Stoop that evening prior to England's World Cup warm-up game against France the following day. With the Celtic League already started at this time, it is likely that we will be playing one of our fellow Zurich Premiership opponents that night.
So we return to this weekend's action. Like many of you, I will be setting the alarm clock on Saturday morning to ensure that I am up to see England take on New Zealand in what is sure to be a cracking game between two of the best teams in world rugby.
Harlequins fan Ed Atkin won the Etihad Airways 'Up and Under' competition at the Northampton Saints game. As a result, he and a friend have won a holiday to Abu Dhabi courtesy of Etihad Airways and the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.