Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Ward aiming to be Quins regular

Scotland back-rower Ally Hogg will rack up 100 Newcastle Falcons appearances against Harlequins on Sunday.

Hooker Dave Ward hopes he can continue to be Harlequins' good-luck charm, but is more focused on establishing himself as an Aviva Premiership regular.

The 28-year-old has started all of Quins' last three victories and will aim to help the Twickenham club make it four in a row at Newcastle Falcons on Sunday.

Ward broke through at Bath after representing England at age-group level only to see his career stall, with unsuccessful stints at Northampton Saints and Sale Sharks following.

Championship club Cornish Pirates helped Ward blossom, though, and he racked up more than 100 appearances in three years.

Impressed Quins rugby director Conor O'Shea recruited Ward in 2012 and this season he has capitalised on injuries to Joe Gray and Rob Buchanan to stake a strong claim for regular rugby.

"I had my first Premiership start for about seven years this season," Ward told Harlequins' official club website.

"I'd played for Bath against Newcastle in 2006 and now we're playing them this week - it all comes around in circles funnily enough.

"I had a good game and I scored a try, but I didn't really crack on from there.

"I don't like to make a deal about it because it could be a record between Premiership starts.

"But I think about some pretty dark times in my career, not a really bad way because I've been lucky enough to play rugby for a living.

"I think back to Northampton where I wasn't required, training on my own going through injuries, so I approached this opportunity with even more determination.

"I've come in and got my opportunity with injuries, we may not have lost since I've been starting but that's complete coincidence!

"I was coming into a Premiership-winning squad so it was always going to be tough, but I feel I've really made strides."

England captain Chris Robshaw is rested for the second week running as boss O'Shea gives him time to get over the hectic autumn international period.

Ward said Quins' entire philosophy is based around not panicking when players are missing, through either injury or international duty.

He said: "The whole idea at Quins drilled into you when you arrive as a player is that the whole squad makes a season effort.

"When the boys step out for internationals like Chris Robshaw and Mike Brown, who are fantastic players, it's up to others to step up.

"You've got guys like Mark Lambert and Joe Trayfoot who play as if we don't have anyone missing."

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