Harlequins might have already signed Whitgift School old boy Marland Yarde and Fiji international Asaeli Tikoirotuma this summer, but backs coach Mark Mapletoft reckons there is one more “new face” ready to make a mark.
Centre George Lowe missed all of last season after suffering a career-threatening neck injury against Saracens back in September.
But the 24-year-old former Epsom College student returned to pre-season training last month to add to Mapletoft’s embarrassment of riches in the Quins back line.
Lowe, right, was one of a host of long-term injuries that crippled the club’s campaign last term, but still ended with a third successive Premiership semi-final appearance.
The likes of Ross Chisholm, Tom Williams, Jordan Turner-Hall and Charlie Walker fit again after long spells on the sidelines last year.
And, after May’s play-off defeat to Saracens, Mapletoft believes he has the recipe to go a step further this time around with Lowe back in harness.
“Having George back is going to be like a new signing for us,” he said this week as the players enjoyed a week off with director of rugby Conor O’Shea away on holiday.
“He had a threatening injury, but is looking sharp in training and it is great to have him back. He has worked hard for it.
“Ross Chisholm, Charlie Walker and Ollie Lindsay-Hague already look back to their best.
“It is going to be a very competitive backs division.
“We had such a disjointed year last year with injuries, we showed great character to get to the semi-finals.
“Hopefully, we can build on that.”
Harlequins kick-off the new season with three home games in their first five games, plus an “away” trip to Twickenham stadium to face London Irish in the London double header.
And, while Mapletoft will have his men fit to hit the ground running come opening day in September, he is more interested in how they shape up in April.
“You cannot do a marathon without having done the right amount of hard work and preparing for the rugby season is no different,” he added.
“The first three weeks have gone well. Conditioning work has to be done now, if you want to be in good shape come the business end of the season. We’ve got it right for the past couple of years.”