Dickson: Losing the Aviva Premiership title has shown Harlequins the way forward (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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Dickson: Losing the Aviva Premiership title has shown Harlequins the way forward
9:00am Tuesday 3rd September 2013 in Sport
By Hattie Lee
Harlequins’ Karl Dickson admitted losing their status as Aviva Premiership champions only highlighted the wrongs that needed righting - and after an intense pre-season the scrum-half insists the entire squad are in a position to do just that.
The 31-year-old is held in high regard by director of rugby Conor O’Shea as one of the best in England, however competition at number nine is fierce with Danny Care ahead of him in the pecking order.
Despite Care’s loftier status with both club and country, Dickson is all set to push his team-mate all the way and give O’Shea the sort of selection headache a club with title-winning aspirations demands.
Sitting on 85 appearances for the Twickenham Stoop outfit Dickson is also targeting a place in the 100 club this year and he is confident such contributions can lead to individual and collective success.
“Obviously we were disappointed not to be back in the final and winning the Aviva Premiership but there are still many positives from last season,” said Dickson.
“We still won the LV= Cup and the A league so it just shows how strong our squad is and those guys will be pushing again for starting spots.
“There’s competition across the board through one to 15 so it’s just a case of giving Conor [O’Shea] the headaches and letting him decide really.
“I just want another solid year to play as much rugby as I can, pressurise Danny Care as much as I can, and hopefully I’ll hit 100 appearances this year.
“I think we are in a better place from last year, we’ve learnt quite a lot in pre-season, we haven’t been running around like headless chickens and I think we have gained some good experience out there and worked on quite a lot of things which we can take into the season.
“We have realised what we could’ve done last year and what we need to improve on this year to get back to the Aviva Premiership Final and the pre-season has shown we know where we need to be.”
Harlequins begin their assault on the title they lost last season to Leicester Tigers at the London Double Header at Twickenham on September 7 when they take on London Wasps.
Healthy competition: Karl Dickson is behind Danny Care in the pecking order for the number nine shirt
And having snatched victory from the jaws of defeat in the very same fixture at the start of last season, coming from 40-13 down to win with a late penalty, Dickson is planning for a less stressful start.
“We are really looking forward to the London Double Header, it will be a massive game against Wasps and hopefully we won’t have a re-run of last year and it won’t take us till the last twenty minutes for us to gain victory,” he said.
“Hopefully we won’t wait until 60 minutes to start playing the game and start from minute one and finish at minute 80.
“So far the pre-season has gone pretty well, we’ve got what we wanted out of it and we just can’t wait for the start of the season.
“Our target is obvious, we want to be in the Aviva Premiership Final again, and winning silverware.”
The London Double Header returns to Twickenham on 7 September with two crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: London Irish v Saracens followed by London Wasps v Harlequins. Tickets from ticketmaster.co.uk
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