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Quins' verdict on a first try in 134 league games for Will Collier

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Harlequins scrum coach Adam Jones has given his reflections on the second-half try scored last Friday by tighthead Will Collier, who threw an exquisite dummy to fool the Bristol defence before racing in for the first score in his 134-game Premiership career. The twice-capped England tighthead made a March 2012 league debut off the bench versus Wasps but had to wait nearly ten years to break his scoring duck in the English top flight.  

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Collier ended his Harlequins drought in sumptuous fashion, demonstrating creativity that would have done Marcus Smith proud, and it was left to Jones, the ex-Wales Grand Slam-winning tighthead, to describe the thing of beauty scored by his fellow front-rower. 

“It had absolutely nothing to do with me,” quipped Jones on Tuesday about the sight of the 30-year-old, who earned his Test caps on the 2017 tour to Argentina, galloping away to scoring in last Friday’s pulsating clash in London which Harlequins won 52-24 having been 21 points down in the opening half. 

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“I guess it just shows the all-court game we are trying to play. People will think it was a flash in the pan but Will Collier will throw one of those dummies at least five or six times a week in training. One may come off and he will probably make a yard, but it was a beautiful moment. Never scored before in the Premiership. It just opened up for him.

“To be fair to him, he showed a bit of speed. He went away from the flanker and the scrum-half couldn’t catch him. I’d say an average celebration for a try of that skill for a prop. It will be a moment he will never forget. It set the result in stone. It was quite the dummy, I must say, but it had absolutely nothing to do with me. I don’t know if you ever saw me play rugby – I used to avoid the ball like the plague.”

Jones added that this show of skill by Collier was now typical of all players at Harlequins. “A lot of bodies touch the ball during the week so everybody is comfortable ball handling, comfortable in our ball carrying. I’d take the Mick out of Simon Kerrod. When we signed him he could barely catch the ball but now he can play. He can pass the ball, he can pass with both hands, he can pull the ball back in phase, he can tip under pressure. They have done the work and everyone is comfortable and if we want to play like we do, you have got to have that skill element in there.

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“We are very good off turnover attack and that is when we play what is in front of us but our phase play is structured, we just happen to have some unreal ball carries and ball players. You would be doing Nick Evans a bit of a disservice that we are happy to go off-script.

“It’s not just play in front of you, it’s coached. Everything you see on the field we train. Having certain X-factor players helps but the same in my (Wales) career, we didn’t just lob the ball to Shane (Williams) and expect some magic. We have players who in structure cause teams a lot of problems.” 

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