Yesterday's announcement of the England training squad ahead of the fixtures against Wales and France in August and September reminds us just how close we are to the start of the World Cup. Congratulations go to Will Greenwood and Jason Leonard who have both made the squad of 43, and to our new signing Mike Worsley who is in the standby squad of seven reserves.
Mike got back from Japan having played for England 'A' on Monday evening and is now away on holiday. He will be joining the squad here at NEC Harlequins at the beginning of August having had a well earned break before then, unless of course he is called up by England in the meantime.
Next week the squad at Aldershot will be joined by George Harder and Josh Taumalolo, who will both return from holiday's in the southern hemisphere. Also returning next week will be the England Under 21 players Chris Bell and Ugo Monye. Still away at the present time are Paul Burke, Ace Tiatia and Laurent Gomez. Paul will be off with Ireland on their training camp in Poland at the end of next week, while both Ace and Laurent will re-join the squad at the end of July.
On the injury front, all those players who had operations at the end of last season are progressing well. Ace Tiatia, Scott Bemand and Karl Rudzki are all expected to be fit for the beginning of September, while Tani Fuga is hopeful of being available for the start of the Zurich Premiership season on 13th September against London Wasps at the Stoop.
The only player who will definitely not be available at the beginning of the season is Rob Jewell. Rob has damaged tendons in his foot and at this stage it is anticipated he will be fit in early October.
Two weeks into the new training season and everyone is in good spirits. With the sun out, the players are enjoying the benefits of our Sodexho run training ground here at Aldershot, although I am not sure that they are all that keen on the ice baths that they are taking after every training session!
Away from the training ground, season ticket sales are going very well. Over 3,400 have been sold to date with two months still to go before the start of the Zurich Premiership season.
We are also currently in the process of putting together our 2nd XV fixture list, where our home games will be shared between the Stoop and Aldershot, and hopefully this will be finalised within the next couple of weeks.
Here's hoping that you all have an enjoyable weekend, that the sun stays out and I will speak to you all again 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.