Director of rugby Conor O’Shea says Harlequins’ new prop star Nick Mayhew comes with a glowing reference from All Black legend Craig Dowd.

England qualified Mayhew is one of three rugby playing brothers from North Harbour, where All Blacks Nick Evans, Frank Bunce and Rico Gear learnt their trades.

O’Shea’s men returned to pre-season training at Surrey Sports Park on Sunday and also welcomed Bristol scrum-half Richard Bolt and Cornish Pirates centre Matt Hopper to the fold in the process.

Western Force prop Tim Fairbrother joins up with the squad in the middle of July as players return in phases over the summer.

Dowd coached Mayhew at North Harbour and O’Shea reckons the former Wasps coach’s endorsement persuaded him to take a punt on the youngster.

“Nic comes from a family steeped in rugby. He is young, explosive and has a huge desire to make an impact in the game,” he said.

“From watching him and talking at length to Craig Dowd, who has coached him, we have no doubt he will flourish in this environment.”

The club’s England Saxons and England U20s contingent return to training later this month, while there is further rest for those involved in preliminary World Cup squads for England, Samoa and Argentina.

That will see Danny Care, Nick Easter, Ugo Monye and Chris Robshaw, James Johnston, Maurie Fa'asavalu and Tomas Vallejos join up with their team-mates at a later date.

Meanwhile, O’Shea has given fans a first glimpse at his squad for the coming campaign after unveiling the new roster this week.

Quins squad for 2011/2012 campaign.


Chris Brooker, Matt Cairns, Joe Gray, Nick Mayhew, Tim Fairbrother, James Johnston, Mark Lambert, Joe Marler, Peter Browne, Ollie Kohn, George Robson, Tomas Vallejos, Nick Easter, Maurie Fa'asavalu, Tom Guest, Chris Robshaw, Will Skinner, Luke Wallace, Chris York.


Mike Brown, Ross Chisholm, Tom Williams, Sam Smith, Seb Stegmann, Ugo Monye, Tom Casson, Matt Hopper, George Lowe, Jordan Turner-Hall, Ollie Smith, Benjamin Urdapilleta, Nick Evans, Rory Clegg, Richard Bolt, Danny Care, Karl Dickson.