With the majority of the players away this week, you would think it would have been a quiet time at the training ground, but that has not been the case.
The late arrivals to training, such as George Harder, Josh Taumalolo and Chris Bell have been doing some catching up with Paul Pook. Those players on re-hab programmes, such as Scott Bemand, have been in every day as they move closer towards full fitness, and a number of the Academy players have also been in this week doing some extra training.
Away from training, I am pleased to confirm that Ugo Monye has signed a new contract with NEC Harlequins which could keep him at the Stoop until at least June 2006. Ugo made his first team debut last season and had a successful time in the England Sevens squad, and we will be looking to see him develop over the coming season.
On a sadder note, I can also confirm that we have released Bill Satala from the second year of his contract with NEC Harlequins. After the Rugby World Cup, he will take up a contract with Toyota in Japan. Bill is a fine player, who struggled to fit into the Quins style of play, and we wish both him and his family every success on their new venture in Japan.
It is now just over two weeks before we travel to France for our pre-season training camp to play both Beziers and Castres. Tomorrow the players will face there first 'bone on bone' rugby session of the summer, as the emphasis in training moves from fitness and individual skills to a more team based training.
There are still seven weeks to go before we start our Zurich Premiership campaign at home to London Wasps on Saturday 13th September, but in terms of our training plan those weeks will just fly by.
Within the next two weeks, with the exception of those players involved in preparing for the World Cup (Jason Leonard, Will Greenwood and Paul Burke) we will have the entire squad back together again for our pre-season fixtures and for the Middlesex Sevens, which takes place on Saturday 16th August at Twickenham.
This weekend sees New Zealand take on Australia in the Tri-Nations competition following their resounding defeat of South Africa last Saturday. It will be an interesting contest between these two southern hemisphere outfits.
I hope you all have a great weekend, and I look forward to catching up with you all next week.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.