Rugby World catches up with Marland Yarde to find out how the England wing is finding life at his new club Harlequins
HAVING EMERGED from England’s three-Test tour of New Zealand in credit, Marland Yarde looks to have the rugby world at his feet – but this week he settled for the streets of London. The 22-year-old winger, who this summer moved from London Irish to Harlequins, ventured to the top of the tallest building in London, the Shard, for the launch of his new club’s 2014-15 kit. Here’s what happened when Rugby World caught up with him…
Rugby World: How are you settling in at Quins?
Marland Yarde: The first session was last Monday. It’s been pretty good, a bit of a change. I’m getting to know new styles and people, but the guys have been very welcoming from the first minute and it’s a confident environment to be in.
It’s been hard work as well – no pre-season is easy! The season kicks off in a few weeks and that’s when we’ll feel the benefit from it – I’m really excited for the season.
RW: Has it helped knowing players from the England squad?
MY: It’s been easy to get in and get involved. I’ve embraced the culture and certainly feel part of the team.
RW: How is it different to London Irish?
MY: London Irish are fantastic and I’ll always be grateful and thankful for the opportunities they gave me while I was there. This is a new club, a different environment, a different way of thinking, which is a fresh challenge for me. It’s exciting and I’m enjoying it – now I’m looking forward to getting the season underway.
RW: What’s pre-season been like?
MY: A lot of weights, a lot of running and a lot of cardiovascular fitness, so we get into the best possible shape for games. We all know how tough rugby can be sometimes and we’re putting the hard work in now for the season.
RW: Have you had to do any initiations?
MY: I think they’re keeping that back for a more appropriate time. Everyone’s keeping their head down and working hard to get themselves ready to play games. The focus is there and the attitude is right.
RW: At Gloucester new signings often have to shave their heads…
MY: If that happened I think I’d have to put an objection in or ask for a transfer!
RW: Can Quins make the Aviva Premiership play-offs this season?
MY: History shows that we’re a top-four team and that’s what’s targeted every year. We want to be better than we have been before.
There’s a fantastic group of players here – a lot of experienced internationals as well as a core group of young players. One thing I’ve noticed is the number of young players who’ve played for England age groups and have had exposure in the Premiership. They’re thriving and want to get better, which can only be good for the team and the long-term future.
The style of play we have, combined with that attitude of wanting to be better than ever before through hard work and dedication, means we’ll be there or thereabouts.
RW: What about playing in the top European event, the European Champions Cup, for the first time?
MY: London Irish were only ever in the Amlin Challenge Cup and one of the drivers for me coming to Quins was the opportunity to play at the top level week in, week out. Previously I’ve not been able to do that as much as I’d like.
RW: From an individual perspective what are your goals this seasons? Are you thinking about the World Cup?
MY: It’s 13 months away so you can’t think too far ahead. I’m at a new club, I want to get a place in the team through working hard and kick the season off with a bang. Last season I got a good start but then got injured midway through, so I want to do as well as I can for Quins and achieve goals we want to achieve, to be challenging for Premiership and European trophies at the end.