EX-HARLEQUINS and England centre Will Greenwood insists his former club are a different prospect to years past as their bid to reach the Aviva Premiership final edges closer.
Quins have been superb this season and top the Premiership with their semi-final position already secured, despite last weekend’s 43-33 defeat to nearest challengers Leicester.
Though often admired for their style of rugby, Quins have only made the semi-finals once before, in 2009, when they lost 17-0 at home to London Irish.
Now, though, with Premiership player of the year nominee and England captain Chris Robshaw leading the side and away wins at Leicester and Toulouse already secured this season, Greenwood, 39, believes Quins have added grit to their undoubted finesse.
“I think they’re a great club and have been playing some great stuff,” said Greenwood.
“But bizarrely enough, because Saracens have done it before and because Leicester have done it before, there is an element that makes people think one of those will nick it and it’ll just be ‘you’ve been great Quins, well done.’
“However, I think some of the victories they’ve had this season like away in Toulouse, like away at Wembley against Saracens, has shown this is not just a team that can play a bit of rugby, they’ve got a real steel to them as well.
“They are very strong defensively, led by Tony Diprose the coach, and they have a very shrewd leader in Conor [O’Shea].
“You just go through their coaching staff – it’s young, it’s hungry and it’s copied on the field.”
Despite already reaching the semi-finals, Quins are still to confirm they will play their last-four match at home and squandered
the chance to do so in last
O’Shea’s men, however, have another chance against Sale and World Cup winner Greenwood believes playing at the Stoop could prove crucial.
“In any sporting event, if you get to the knock-out stages, home advantage gives you a huge boost. With Quins’ home Premiership record this year you can see the importance,” he added.
“You don’t want to be going to Leicester or Saracens when they are on a charge, so I think they will be determined to get that home tie.
“When you are unsure in sport and gambling, you tend to go with the home side. But I’m certainly not putting more than £3.50 on it.”
Aviva is the proud title sponsor of Premiership Rugby. Tickets for the Aviva Premiership Final at Twickenham on 26 May are currently available with a free rugby shirt at www.premiershiprugby.com/freeshirt