Harlequins fly-half Tim Swiel has backed the club to ‘more than cope’ without missing international stars Jamie Roberts, Mike Brown, Danny Care and Chris Robshaw.
Harlequins face a defining three matches in Aviva Premiership Rugby, with key clashes up next against Bath Rugby, Leicester Tigers and Gloucester Rugby and Swiel has called on his team-mates to deliver when it matters most.
John Kingston’s men sit sixth in the table and harbour realistic ambitions of finishing in the top-six and returning to Europe’s top-table next season in the Champions Cup.
In the continued absence of experienced New Zealander Nick Evans, who is recovering with a fractured wrist, Swiel has been thrust into the spotlight as Harlequins’ premier playmaker and he is determined to make his mark.
“It will be a tough period but I feel over the last few weeks we haven’t played as well as we would have liked to,” said Swiel.
“We have had to re-assess things without the England guys being here and the buzz is good in the camp again.
“We’re going into a period in Aviva Premiership Rugby where it’s a make or break time for us.
“We have three consecutive matches that are big for the club.
“We have such a good group of lads here that want to work hard and do so during training throughout the week.
“We just want to take that on to the field and do it for each other and the supporters now over the next month or so.
“Obviously looking at our results this year, we have beaten some of the best teams this year and our home record has been good compared to our away record.
“Now we go into a period of Aviva Premiership Rugby without internationals but the group have got tight and we are looking to kick on and produce some good results.”
Swiel was speaking at the launch of this year’s Aviva #DriveSafer campaign alongside team-mates James Horwill and Evans.
As part of the campaign, Aviva and all 12 Premiership Rugby clubs are highlighting the dangers of dangerous driving caused by distractions, with a particular focus on the use of mobile phones.
And Swiel explained he was proud to play his part in trying to help improve safety on the roads.
“There is an increased risk of using your phone while you drive and Aviva’s campaign helps to promote a way of making it safer so I think it’s a great initiative,” he said.
“A lot of players are helping to promote the #DriveSafer campaign and we are looking to make the roads as safe as possible – it is obviously a risk in everyday life.”
With Evans missing through injury for large chunks of this season, Swiel has been the playmaker for Harlequins and he is relishing the increased responsibility.
Last year it was Swiel who was unfortunate with injuries but after stringing together a consistent set of Harlequins appearances this campaign, the number ten is looking to kick on and show his worth for the remainder of the season.
“Last year I was quite unfortunate and had a few injuries, I had ankle surgery and broke my hand and didn’t play as much as I would like to,” he added.
“This year I had a long pre-season and got some opportunities.
“Nick has been injured quite a lot which is unfortunate but then that opens opportunities and I have had a few chances and played quite a few minutes which is nice.
“I know how important the next three matches will be.
“Consistency in both home and away matches is important for us now.
“It doesn’t help if you can produce a great performance one week and then it’s the opposite the next, you need that consistency and I think we need to polish our defence and attack.”
Harlequins are proud to support Aviva, title sponsor of Premiership Rugby, on their #DriveSafer campaign and help raise awareness of dangerous driving. Download the Aviva Drive app to see how safe your driving is at www.aviva.co.uk/car-insurance/drive