With Joe Marler injured and the autumn internationals in full swing Harlequins prop Mark Lambert ought to be rubbing his hands at the chance of some individual recognition, writes Charlie Talbot-Smith.
But the 27-year-old insists that if the Quins are to defend their Aviva Premiership title this campaign then the squad must come ahead of the individual.
A rib injury in the second week of the season and the fantastic form of Marler has limited Lambert to only two appearances in the Aviva Premiership so far this campaign.
But since the start of the international window Lambert has started three in a row in all competitions for Conor O’Shea’s men including their hard-fought 28-25 win against Gloucester last time out in the league.
And with a trip to Bath on Friday in front of the Sky Sports cameras up next the loosehead prop is adamant that the whole squad need to contribute if Quins are to keep up their early season form.
“It might sound like the oldest cliché in the book but we need to take everything on a game by game basis,” he said.
“When players are away through injury or call-ups we have to ensure that the next person is ready to step up and contribute consistently.
“It is not 15 players that win you a league and I would like to think that was a big reason behind our success last campaign and good start this time around, it is a squad of 35 guys that win you the big prizes.
“Just look at how we’ve started this season, we’re joint top of the Premiership table and top of our pools in the LV= Cup and the Heineken.
“That is a clear indication of the Quins way, everyone coming in and doing a job if someone else is missing.
“Ok so last year we won 14 games on the bounce at the start of the season whereas this year we certainly have not been spectacular, but we are still doing the right things and playing the right way.”
Lambert, who penned a new deal with the club in September that will keep him at the Stoop until 2015, is set to make his third Aviva Premiership appearance of the season this weekend at the Rec.
And the 27-year-old, who has only ever been a one club man, insists the team will always come before the individual in his mind.
“Joe Marler has been playing incredibly well this year and is rightfully starting games for club and country,” he added.
“All I can do is be ready and take my chances when they come along for the good of the club.
“This weekend should be my fourth start in a row and I'm really enjoying that, I'm here to do a job and if Joe’s injury proves to be a bad one I will continue to do that to the best of my abilities.”
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