Cleaves shows talents as Quins start the season with a bang

The Rugby World Cup may be taking centre stage at the moment, but the Premiership Rugby season is also about to get underway, with the first round of matches starting on Friday 13 October, when Bristol take on Leicester. 

However, before the Premiership campaign begins in a month’s time, some of London’s top teams have been taking part in the Premiership Rugby Cup.

Last weekend, 20-year-old Harlequins winger Cassius Cleaves put in a memorable performance against Hartpury University. He scored a hat trick as Quins ran out 54-14 winners on the opening day of the season. 

Will this be Cleaves’ Standout Year? 

Cleaves is an exciting talent that is certainly one for the future. After all, the speedy winger recently returned from England U20 World Cup duty. 

Against Hartpury, he scored three tries in the first half, including one after only two minutes of action. This was a sublime attacking move where Cleaves sliced through Hartpury’s defensive line to score under the posts. 

Thanks to the Cleaves hat trick, plus a brace of tries from flanker Will Trenholm, Harlequins raced to a 42-7 lead at half time. With heat at The Stoop rising to 32 degrees in the second half, Quins managed the game well and used their replacements wisely, ultimately strolling to a 54-19 win. 

Although the Quins side was packed full of top performers, Cleaves was undeniably the star of the show and he won the Man of the Match award with 24% of the vote. This was an important performance from the young winger, who will be hoping this is the start of a breakthrough campaign. After all, the three tries he scored at the weekend were more than he had scored all of last season for Quins. 

Speaking to the media after the game, Cleaves said: “It was really nice to dive over three times and a really special feeling to do it in the first game of the season. 

“We have had a long old pre-season, even being away for some time with England U20s but it was really nice to come back and still have some of that form I had from the World Cup. 

“That has put me in a really good mindset coming back to club rugby, knowing that I have played in the summer while everyone else is training. 

“It has filled me with a lot of confidence coming into the season and I am glad I was able to keep scoring tries at the weekend.

“We have got some great wingers at this club ahead of me but the goal now for me is to try and break into that team and get a few games under my belt – I am definitely trying to fight my way into that Premiership team. That has always been my goal for this season. 

“I have been here from such a young age, so to finally play in the Premiership will be a special feeling and one I am really looking forward to.” 

What’s next for Quins? 

Next up, Harlequins welcome Coventry to The Stoop. The away side caused the shock of the round in Round 1, when they defeated Saracens 28-14.