Jones and Quins gear up for the business end of the season

·4-min read
Jones played the final three seasons of his career for Quins before taking up a role in their backroom staff.
Jones played the final three seasons of his career for Quins before taking up a role in their backroom staff.

Harlequins scrum coach Adam Jones praised the defending Gallagher Premiership Rugby champions for not resting on their laurels after becoming the only side from last year’s top four to make the 2022 semi-finals.

Quins finished fourth in 2021 but staged an unbelievable comeback in the semi-final to topple league leaders Bristol Bears - who at one stage led 28-0 at Ashton Gate - in extra time before edging Exeter Chiefs 40-38 at Twickenham to lift the trophy.

This year Tabai Matson’s men have secured third place and face a trip to either Saracens or Leicester Tigers in the semi-final as they bid to make it back-to-back titles while Pat Lam’s 10th-place Bears have struggled with Chiefs and Sale Sharks seeing their hopes of scooping fourth place dashed in recent weeks.

Former Wales prop Jones, 41, said: “We would have liked to challenge a bit more for the first and second spots, we lost a few games we probably shouldn’t have, but the fact we’re the only side to make the semi-finals again is pretty good.

“We are in a good place and we are looking forward to the semi now. We have a lot of confidence from last year but obviously it’s a different kind of game plan against different teams this year.

“You need to find a different way of beating them as it’s a different kind of way they play compared to Bristol and Exeter.

“There’s a lot to play for with the title on the line and the England tour ahead; it’s the business end of the season.”

Jones admits it would be an enormous achievement for Quins to become the first club to retain the title since Saracens in 2019 and credits the return to the club’s core DNA for an upturn in results after the departure of former head of rugby Paul Gustard in January 2021.

He explained: “It would be huge to win back-to-back league titles. Nearly 18 months ago, the club took stock and from the owners down wanted to put this wonderful club back playing rugby the way the club is meant to.

“It’s not for everyone. A lot of pundits and journos may think last year was a fluke, that we just chuck the ball around but there’s a lot more planning to it.

“It would be a massive thing to make it to the final, it will be a massive challenge against Sarries or Leicester Tigers but we won’t shy away from it. We are under no illusions about how good they are going to be.

“Will it give us extra motivation? I think the motivation is trying to go back-to-back and trying to win the Final rather than worrying about what people say.”

Louis Lynagh’s late try double propelled Quins to glory 12 months ago but only in front of a Covid-limited 10,000 fans.

And fresh from the success of the Big Summer Kick-Off in Round 25, when just shy of 50,000 packed into Twickenham to see Quins’ comeback win over Gloucester Rugby, Jones knows his men will be ready for a bumper crowd at HQ if they make it all the way to the Final.

He added: “It was amazing last year even though there were only 10,000 people. The atmosphere was unreal and the walk over from the Stoop was brilliant.

“We are used to a full house, so if we do get to the Final there won’t be any nerves for it, we have the Big Game and then the other day we had the Big Summer Kick-Off, so it’s not going to daunt us.

“Our fan base is brilliant. It was not ideal last year but the way our fans responded to winning the league - I think we’ve sold out every home game this year!”

Don’t miss the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final 2022 at Twickenham Stadium on 18 June. World-class action. Unmissable entertainment. Click here for tickets.

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