Skinner: I will do my bit for Quins quest
Harlequins back row Will Skinner might miss out on the club’s first-ever Aviva Premiership final, but he insists that does not diminish his job ahead of the Twickenham clash.
The former skipper has slipped down the pecking order at the Stoop with England skipper Chris Robshaw, No. 8 Nick Easter and Samoan World Cup star Maurie Fa’asavalu now the preferred back row trio.
However Skinner, who was one of the youngest captains in the Premiership when he took the role in 2007, is adamant that as a senior player he will ensure the Quins players are ready for the showpiece against Leicester on May 26.
He said: “I’m not sure if I will be involved in the final, but I need to make sure the guys prepare as best they can.
“We’ve go to get our focus right and stick on playing the rugby, not the holidays after. We also need to keep a relaxed atmosphere and try not to get nervous.
“So I’ll be cracking pretty awful gags to keep morale up, so the preparation is good.
“The guys have bonded so well, the coaching and direction has been great, but the guys on the pitch have played outstandingly.
“Whoever has come in, whether it’s guys getting their first opportunity, they have done brilliantly and been consistently excellent. Leicester are used to the finals at Twickenham, that’s one slight advantage they have, but we’re raring to go.
“We played them a few of weeks ago, so we’re probably the underdogs going in, but that’s where we want to be. Hopefully, we can take them by surprise and take them on up front and win the game.”
Quins left it late to book a place in their first final with Joe Marler’s late try the difference in a 25-23 semi-final win over Northampton.
And while nerves appeared to be getting the better of Quins at the Stoop, Skinner is confident the underdogs tag which they will have in a fortnight will serve them well.
He added: “It’s a special day for Quins, it was so good to see how many ex-players were down at the semi-final, it means so much for the club and we’ve come on leaps and bounds.
“After the game the guys had a chance to rest up and there will be more of that this week to make sure we are fresh for the final. We don’t want to change too much of our preparation.
“We need to make sure we train well next week and it’s going to be pretty exciting when we get to play at Twickenham.
“It was a semi-final against Northampton who have been in a few and know how to play them. They have some great players so it was a tough confrontation and not as open as we would have liked. Hopefully that’s the nerves out of the way now and we can play our game in a couple of weeks.”
Book your tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on Saturday, 26 May at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or 0844 847 2492.