YEARS of hard work, meticulous planning and nurturing of young players finally paid off for Harlequins last season, but the question is: can they win the Premiership again?
They’ll certainly be confident of repeating their success, but can expect to be pushed hard by a club perhaps even more innovative than them: Saracens. I’m a big fan of the work chief executive Edward Griffiths has done there, notably the way they develop players off the field as well as on it.
Beyond those two, Leicester are always strong while Bath will be under pressure to deliver on the enormous investment that has been made there. Sale are an interesting one as, on paper, Steve Diamond and Danny Cipriani are the antithesis of each other, yet together their skill sets are a very exciting prospect.
I’m delighted to see James Haskell back at my old club, Wasps. They have fallen behind in recent years, but they’ve retained some great young talent and just need to develop a siege mentality to block out off-field distractions and build on last year.
London Irish welcome the experienced Brian Smith as head coach. They’ve always played great rugby; his challenge is to turn that into trophies.
Personally I’m excited to see London Welsh in the Premiership, because I know how much it means both to locals and to Welsh rugby. The key for them will be to start well, grabbing victories in the first few weeks before other teams have hit their stride.
Josh Lewsey was speaking courtesy of GamePlan Solutions: Managing high profile and popular sport stars; speakers, leaders, motivators & ambassadors. www.gameplansolutions.co.uk