Harlequins’ Head of Rugby Paul Gustard believes his squad are on the right path to banishing the disappointment of last season.

Quins narrowly missed out on a top four finish on the last game of the season four months ago, a position they occupied for a large part of the campaign.

Gustard, not wanting to dwell on what may have been, has been active in recruitment over the summer and with a 24-12 Premiership Cup win over Bristol Bears at The Stoop on Friday, he believes they are well equipped to lay last season’s agony to bed.

“We’re in a good place and a better place to last year, and technically we’re improving all the time,” he said.

“It’s a case of looking forward to regular rugby now.

“It’s been a while since we had a frustrating result at Wasps at the end of last season, so we’re looking forward to building on a positive result against Bristol on Friday.”

With the Rugby World Cup being held in Japan, the start of the regular Gallagher Premiership has been pushed back, and in it’s place a run of Premiership Cup games to compete in.

Next up for Quins will be a trip to London Irish on Saturday, before ties with Gloucester and Saracens.

With three weeks before the season opener at Exeter’s Sandy Park on October 19th, it has given Gustard an extended period of time to put his newly assembled squad which boast 15 new faces, through their paces.

“It’s been an enjoyable pre-season,” he continued.

“Like most teams we like to see how far we can push the envelope, physically, mentally and tactically.

“We’ve worked hard to create right environment for staff to excel in and for the players to perform.

“Recruitment is always a delicate business but we’re really happy with the squad we’ve assembled.

“We’ve a good group of hungry, motivated and people who are committed to Harlequins.

“The competition and depth is a lot greater than last season.”

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Despite the Quins boss admitting the league is his side’s focus, he won’t be taking the Premiership Cup lightly.

“We’ve got good strength and depth so it gives an opportunity for those to stake a claim for the league fixtures either in the first XV or as a game changer,” he said.

“The way we approach it, we felt it’s a long group of games, after Premiership Cup there were 15 or 16 games of Premiership or European games, so we’ll use the Cup to rotate everyone.

“It gives an opportunity to play for the shirt.”

Saturday’s fixture with Irish also signifies a return for the Quins man who spent four years playing with the exiles.

“As a former London Irish player I know the Madjeski will be rocking and it’ll be a great occasion.

“They’re a well-coached side, very experienced with Declan (Kidney) and Les (Kiss).

“They’re a well-tuned team, they’ve been together for a while and I know they’ll be tough, but we look forward to the challenge.”