Quins star Gray remains focused on Premiership glory

Joe Gray may have been named in the England Saxons squad ahead of the Six Nations, but he insists his main focus is maintaining Harlequins’ Aviva Premiership charge.

The hooker has impressed this term as Quins look to retain last year’s league title and has played in 12 of their 13 games so far.

An abdominal tear shortly before the autumn internationals ruled him out of England head coach Stuart Lancaster’s thoughts earlier in the campaign.

But the 24-year-old, who joined eight of his club team-mates on the tour of South Africa last summer, claims he’s fighting fit and at the top of his game.

Lancaster may yet call on Gray’s services if Dylan Hartley or Tom Youngs pick up an injury, but until then his focus is on purely domestic matters.

“I feel I’m playing really good rugby to be fair, I was disappointed with the 4cm abdominal tear just before the autumn internationals which kept me out for about a month, but I’ve managed to play a lot of rugby since,” said Gray.

“I went on the summer tour and Youngs has been doing a good job, but doing well for your club will bring representative honours, so I need to keep playing well and as you saw in the summer after last season, Quins had nine boys in South Africa.aviva

“It’s been a great season so far, we’re going really well in all competitions and I think that is credit to the entire squad, everyone is at the top of their game.

“It’s always nice to be top, but we need to take one game at a time and carry on doing things right and things will take care of themselves.”

The Saxons will meet up on 21 January at Surrey Sports Park ahead of their match against the Ireland Wolfhounds in Galway on 25 January.

But before then Gray and his Quins team-mates face the rigours of the Heineken Cup, knowing a win over Connacht on Saturday will guarantee progression to the knockout stages.

“We’re getting towards the business end of the season now and we need to keep getting results and putting our foot forward,” said Gray.

“We’re going into the height of the Heineken Cup and playing some massive games, you can never switch off.

“We can only focus on the next job and we can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves.

“We have played Connacht a lot over the last couple of years, and we had a defeat last year which was disappointing, especially after the hard work we put in against Toulouse, so we’re looking forward to playing them again.

“It’s an important game, we want to show them how we play and prove we’re one of the best teams.

“If we get through it would be great, but we have a tough game against Connacht first, they have a physical pack and it’s not going to be easy.”



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