House of Payne: Harlequins are looking beyond the pound signs when it comes to value for money (From Richmond and Twickenham Times)
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House of Payne: Harlequins are looking beyond the pound signs when it comes to value for money
Many professional sports club make star signings a badge of honour. It's not quite correct to say that Harlequins take the opposite stance – but it's not far off.
Quins chief executive David Ellis got in early by indicating that there won’t be many new faces at the Stoop this summer – although England winger Marland Yarde’s arrival from London Irish has already been confirmed.
There was never any chance of the weekend’s 25-20 defeat at Gloucester that left a Quins squad, ravaged by injuries for most of the season, three points outside the top four, leading to a knee-jerk reaction this week.
Instead Quins announced new contracts for six players – Ben Botica, Rob Buchanan, Charlie Matthews, Tom Casson, Joe Gray and Dave Ward.
There are similarities with Arsenal's attitude but, as Ellis points out, Quins are in the midst of the most successful period in their history.
More pertinently – while just Jack Wilshere, Wojciech Szczesny and Kieran Gibbs are flying the flag for Arsenal's academy – Quins’ record for packing their first team home-grown talent is on another level altogether.
Current England stars Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown and Joe Marler are just the tip of the iceberg with 12 of the players who won the 2012 Aviva Premiership final having been home-grown.
The production line shows no sign of slowing down with Jack Clifford, Harry Sloan, Sam Stuart and Sam Twomey, who have all featured for the first team next season, having signed deals to lift them from Tony Diprose's academy into the first team squad.
It leaves Quins with a squad bulging with players fully versed in the club ethos, who understand what director of rugby Conor O’Shea is talking about when he says: “We just want to play our way and deliver what this club is about.
"You think about Harlequins and you think of entertainment and we want to be true to those traditional values.”
They are values that no number of big name signings can replicate.
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