Contact us: Got a photo? Text 'SLPICS' to 80360. Got a story? Call the newsdesk: 020 8744 4260
Malone: Old coaching team were key to current Quins stars
Former Harlequins fly half Chris Malone reckons the club’s current crop of stars have a lot to thank the Stoop’s old backroom team for.
The-35-year-old Australian, recently made head coach at Sydney University, spent two seasons at the Stoop under former director of rugby Dean Richards, playing alongside the likes of Danny Care, Mike Brown, George Robson and Chris Robshaw during their fledgling years.
Many of the young players that emerged at that time have gone on to become Premiership champions and household names since the former Bath player quit the Stoop for London Irish at the end of the 2009 season.
And Malone, a veteran of close to 150 Premiership matches and scorer of more than 750 top flight points, was pleased to have played his part – even if his final act was being carried off in the Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster.
“You have to say Andy Friend and John Kingston had a huge influence on those young boys,” he said.
“People like Danny Care, Mark Lambert, George Robson, Jordan Turner-Hall and Tom Williams learnt a huge amount from them.
“It was great to be a part of the club at that time, I guess you might say I was one of the older more experienced heads there to help guide the young ones.
“We had an over 30s coffee club. Me, Andy Gommarsall and Tani Fuga, would all meet for coffee. We’d sometime invite Nick Easter along because he always looked over 30 during my time there anyway.”
Malone returns to the Stoop next Thursday as part of the Australian Legends team taking on England Legends – featuring greats like of Jason Robinson and Lawrence Dallaglio – in a re-run of the 2003 World Cup final in aid of Restart and the Injured Player’s Foundation.
He plans to visit Twickenham for the England v Australia autumn international, in which six of his Sydney side will hope to feature.
But it is the match two days earlier that has his attention.
“I jumped at the chance to come back. I’ve not played for a senior international side, so to be asked feels like my career counted for something. It is an honour,” he added.
“I’ve played with or against most of the guys. I’m looking forward to playing against Gommars. He always had quite a bit to say for himself.
“I might be one of the young players, but I was never blessed with pace. I’ve only got slower.
“As any fly half will say, it is not about speed of foot, it is about speed of mind.”
England Legends v Australia Legends is being hosted at the Stoop on Thursday October 31, in partnership with official match sponsor Heathrow Express.