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How the salary cap forced Quins to find the future of English rugby

By PA
Harlequins celebrates after their victory during the Investec Champions Cup Quarter Final match between Union Bordeaux Begles and Harlequins at Stade Chaban-Delmas on April 13, 2024 in Bordeaux, France. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Harlequins head coach Danny Wilson insists the success of Gallagher Premiership teams in Europe shows the future of English club rugby lies in developing young players.

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Quins and Northampton have qualified for the Investec Champions Cup semi-finals, giving the Premiership more representation than any other competition with Leinster and Toulouse completing the line-up.

Wilson believes the real achievement lies in competing with the continent’s heavyweights, despite operating within the lowest salary cap.

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“The Premiership works to a salary cap whereas other teams don’t or spend a huge amount more on their squad, so that credit should go to the league. You’re working within constraints that means you are bringing young players through,” he said.

“If you look at the young players we had on the field against Bordeaux, without Danny Care or Joe Marler, it shows that bringing those younger players through is a big part of English rugby’s future and Harlequins’ future.

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“You see the same with Northampton – look at the young players they’ve brought through as well as having experienced players. Long-term that’s where we’ll see the fruits of the salary cap, which pushes you to do that.”

Quins stunned Bordeaux Begles 42-41 in their away quarter-final but Wilson insisted the time for celebration was over as they resume their push for a place in the Premiership play-offs, starting with Sunday’s visit to Sale.

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“Hopefully we can roll that buzz into this weekend because we get straight back on to the horse with a massive Premiership game,” he said.

“The mark of us will be whether we can back that up. Good players and good teams back those performances up. That’s where our journey at Quins needs to go – to be more consistent.”

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