Adversity will make cup win taste sweeter for Quins

Man with a plan: Harlequins winger Ugo Monye

Man with a plan: Harlequins winger Ugo Monye

First published in Sport Your Local Guardian: Photograph of the Author by , Sports editor

Winger Ugo Monye knows more than most what it means to be a Harlequin and he believes the adversity the club have faced this term will make lifting the Premiership title taste even sweeter.

The England international and British & Irish Lion has spent more than a decade at the Stoop since graduating from the club’s academy, suffering relegation from the top flight in 2005.

His path to the first team has since been followed by player of the year Mike Brown, England captain Chris Robshaw, centre Jordan Turner-Hall and George Lowe, to name but a few.

Danny Care’s toe injury and brushes with the law, plus a host of serious injuries – including hooker Chris Brooker’s leg break – have stretched playing resources at the Stoop to the limit at times.

The vast majority of the squad who will take to the Twickenham pitch to face Leicester Tigers in the Premiership final have grown up as fans of the club as well as players.

And Monye insisted that could be key come the day of reckoning.

He said: “So many of the players have grown up with the club there is a sense of closeness.

“Kids at every rugby club watch the first team and dream of being there. We were no different when we were in the academy and watching from the stands.

“We are a tight-knit squad. Injuries and adversity have brought us closer together. You can see the effect that has had in some of our results this season.

“We’ve won at Toulouse, won at Gloucester and won at Saracens this season and they have all been great performances.

“But the key one for me was beating Worcester Warriors early on.  “We had no right to win that game, but we dug it out at the death.

“If we had lost, then the early season momentum would have been lost too. But we won and have just gone from strength to strength.

“Those are the moments that are important and can make a big difference.”

Monye has battled a hamstring injury to be fit for the biggest game in the club’s history and he is in no doubt director of rugby Conor O’Shea’s men can finish the job of becoming Premiership champions.

Table-topping Quins, who started the season with 10 straight league wins, are the underdogs for the clash with the Tigers preparing for an eighth successive final appearance on the back of an 11-game winning streak.

But if Monye does not make the cut he knows the person who takes his place is good enough to secure the silverware the club craves.

He added: “We have proved this season we have the strength in depth to cope. There is real competition for places.

“This season, more than others, has seen several people step up to the mark.

“We are in the position where we are not weaker when we have lost players.

“It would mean a huge amount to the club, the players and the fans if we could get over the line.”

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