London clubs gear up for Twickenham double

 
Ross McLean
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Aviva Premiership stars preview the new rugby season with Ross McLean

TOP-FLIGHT rugby powers into action tonight when Northampton host Gloucester. The main curtain-raiser, however, takes place tomorrow with the London Double Header. City A.M. met four players at the eye of the Twickenham storm to preview the new campaign: Harlequins’ Charlie Matthews,Will Helu of Wasps, Saracens’ Chris Wyles and Jamie Hagan of London Irish.

Aims for the season ahead?

CM – We want to be in the best possible position come the business end. You don’t win anything in the first six games but you can put yourself in a strong position.

WH – As a squad we should be aiming for the top six. That’s where we should be pitching ourselves with the bigger picture of competing in Europe.

CW – We talk about the processes more than results, it’s more about the journey than the destination. Our focus is to play well in every game.

JH – We’ve talked about it as a squad and we need to be pushing for a top-six spot and getting into that top tier of Europe. That’s a massive goal for our new owners.

Players we should keep an eye on?

CM – Will Collier in the front row had a great season last year and got himself into the Saxons. You won’t see glitz and glamour but if there’s someone to put money on going to the World Cup he is a good shout.

WH – Winger Christian Wade is definitely one while Alapati Leiua has come with a big reputation from Super Rugby.

CW – Owen Farrell is looking to be the starting fly-half in the World Cup. We also have some top youngsters like Jamie George, George Kruis and Jackson Wray.

JH – James Short looks rapid in training. He won the Premiership with Saracens two years ago and a few people have forgotten about him with injuries. From the forwards, I would say Tom Guest who has signed from Harlequins.

Excitement rising for the World Cup?

CM –I know England didn’t get the results against New Zealand in the summer but something is building there.

WH – I was fortunate enough to be part of the last World Cup with Tonga and it’s already at the back of the minds of players who have big ambitions.

CW – Most guys will have one eye on the World Cup and ultimately that’s going to bring the best out of them. Hopefully the Premiership can benefit from players playing out of their skins.

JH – The Premiership has a standard of player which you wouldn’t come across in most leagues with so many internationals and people are going to be vying for chances.

The players were speaking on behalf of Heathrow Express, proud sponsors of the Aviva Premiership London Double Header. Heathrow Express is the fastest way to travel between central London and Heathrow Airport. For more information visit www.heathrowexpress.com