Having the All Blacks coach youngsters at Harlequins’ Stoop last week was one of several benefits to come from the partnership announced between the two organisations in March this year.

In the build up to England’s test against the three-time World Cup winners on November 10, Quins and New Zealand Rugby announced the event to celebrate and establish their ‘unique partnership.’

“It’s always exciting when the All Blacks are in town,” said Quins CEO David Ellis.

“We’ve got a hundred youngsters on the field being taught by those at the pinnacle of the game. I’m excited for them. Events like this are to inspire grass roots rugby and the next generation.

“Being taught by the All Blacks will stay with them forever.”

Exchanging Resources

Further benefits from the partnership will be in the form of exchanging player and coaching resources and Ellis says their bond will only get stronger.

The partnership has already seen former All Black and now Quins skills coach Nick Evans link up and learn from legendary Kiwi coach Wayne Smith in New Zealand earlier this year.

Closer to home, Quins will be hosting the highly rated under-20 Kiwi international fly-half Harry Plummer after the international break as part of the collaboration.

'Cherry Picking Kiwis'

Ellis, however, was quick to quash suggestions that the only reason for the partnership was to ‘cherry pick’ sought after Kiwi’s when they become available.

“I think the market doesn’t allow you to do that. The top Kiwis will be chased by everyone.

“Yes, it means if we have a strong relationship with New Zealand we’d be a more attractive environment but there’s still a competitive market for players.

“What it does do is allow our younger players and their younger players get some experience which will stand them in good stead when they come back here or there, and that’s the real strength of this.”

Speaking at the coaching event attended by Kiwi’s Codie Taylor, Joe Moody and Nepo Laulala, Ellis says that although Quins are in a healthy position on the field, they are constantly looking for the ‘extra 1%’ to improve.

Strongest League In The World

“I think in the Gallagher Premiership we have, in regard to TV ratings, attendance, engagement, one of the strongest leagues in the world. The minute you stop trying to improve you fail, you can’t do that in professional sport.

“I think we’re in good shape, but I think we can always be better, we can always do more, and to create partnerships like this allows us to do that. To inspire, to engage and to make the sport stronger.”