Interview: Harlequins full-back Ross Chisholm

Interview: Harlequins full-back Ross Chisholm
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Harlequins full-back Ross Chisholm talks to Sports Mole after signing a new contract earlier this week.

Ross Chisholm is widely regarded as one of the brightest young talents in English Rugby.

Harlequins handed the full-back a new contract earlier this week after some encouraging performances during last season's triumphant Premiership campaign.

The 21-year-old talked to Sports Mole about life at Quins, the fight for a starting shirt and Friday's match against London Welsh.

Let's start with the new contract. How much of a boost was it to put pen to paper at the start of a new campaign?
"Obviously I'm delighted to re-sign with Harlequins. It's a club I've been part of now for many years. I've come through the academy, being here has helped me improve my game considerably. Still being a young player, I feel that this is the right place for me for to develop. When you look at the calibre of players around me, it's not a bad club to be at to learn off the more experienced guys, and also get some more game time in with last season's championship-winning team. From my point of view it was all positive."

Quins coach Conor O'Shea has said he thinks that you have the ability to play anywhere across the back three in the future. What do you think of that?
"My main position is obviously full-back, but I'm definitely comfortable on the wing. Like I said before we've got some great wingers here that I can learn from. Conor said to me that its good to be versatile so you can slot in across the back line. At the end of the day you have got the England full-back and a British Lion on the wing. You've got to fight for your place at a club like this, whether that be on the wing or in my favoured position."

How crazy was the whole experience of Twickenham on Saturday and that memorable start to the season?
"Honestly, the first 50-odd minutes was pretty tough to watch but it was a fantastic turnaround. We're obviously delighted with the win and I think we showed in the last 20 minutes what we are capable of. The focus has to be on this week and Welsh now, we know we can't start like that again. We have to turn up from minute 1 or you're going to be chasing games. You can't expect to turn up for 20 minutes and win every week, we know that."

How is the mood in the camp following a dramatic win over Wasps? Has that lead to any extra work on the defensive side of things this week ahead of the visit of London Welsh?
"We've done a little bit in defence but it's not a complete train crash. We know that if we stick to the systems we've worked to and the attacking system that we've trained throughout pre-season these things will help. It is not gonna be easy against Welsh. We saw on Saturday if you don't turn up for any length of time at this level teams will sting you. That can't happen again because we won't be able to pull it back like we did at the weekend. First and foremost we're always looking for that win, that's our mentality as a team."

Have you set yourself any personal targets for the new campaign?
"Getting a starting shirt as much as possible is the obvious answer, and it would be for everyone. But one thing we talk about here a lot at this club is the processes you go through to get there. You know that's the same for all 15 guys on the pitch. You're always going to have to fight harder and harder every week to get on that pitch. You've just got to take care of yourself and when the chance comes let your game to do the talking and aim to give Conor a headache when it comes to picking the team."

Is the competition for places at Quins daunting at all?
"I think it's a good thing and it's the way Conor likes it because it keeps the guys starting in top form, and if you're not then you won't play or get dropped. There's a real focus on continuing to improve and I think that's the good thing about this squad as a whole. We've been through a lot together and as long we improve individually and as a squad then the results will take care of themselves."

And finally, did the manager say anything to you when you signed the contract extension last week?
"There's always a list of things to improve on. The discussions with coaches here are regular. He just said to me: 'Keep working on the things we've spoken about, keep your basic skills going and at the end of the day go and put your game on the pitch every week and give me a headache.' That's what I try and do every time I go out there and I hope that comes across."

Harlequins continue the defence of their Aviva Premiership crown with their first home game of the season against newly-promoted London Welsh at The Stoop on Friday.

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