WORTHING Raiders Rugby Club’s Jack Maslen admitted it was a fantastic experience on Friday when he helped Harlequins progress into the Premiership 7s Series final, which takes place tomorrow evening.
Harlequins progressed from Group C on Friday as more than 11,000 people were in attendance at Northampton.
Maslen has played 7s rugby for several years for Wooden Spoon Marauders and got his chance with Harlequins through Howard Graham, the Harlequins Academy coach and Marauders coach.
Maslen, 24, from Worthing, had a familiar face alongside him in the Harlequins line-up as James Chisholm, who was on loan to Raiders from Quins last season, was also part of the squad, along with some of his Marauders team-mates.
The event was shown live on BT Sport and Maslen, who touched down a try in the final group match, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity and experience for me –being able to play in a highly recognisable competition with such a distinguished club, as well as playing in front of more than 11,000 people.
“It was good to be able to play with some new and old faces, James Chisholm being a name that most Raiders supporters will remember.
“Getting on the scoresheet in the final game was a fantastic moment and I even got a good mention on the television after that.
“I’m looking forward to Friday and playing at the Twickenham Stoop in front of what will be a home crowd.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of Harlequins and it’s going to be amazing to run out on their pitch, playing for them, and in front of all the fans.”
Harlequins topped Group C with wins over Northampton Saints (40-7), Saracens (36-0) and Wasps (26-19). Northampton Saints also qualified for the Series final with wins over Wasps (24-21) and Saracens (33-14) in their other games.
They will be joined by Cardiff Blues, Gloucester Rugby, Leicester Tigers, London Irish, Newcastle Falcons and Newport Gwent Dragons in the Series final.
The winners will get automatic qualification through to the World Club 7s, which take place at Twickenham on August 16 and 17.
A strong performance from Maslen at the Series final could lead to a path into full-time rugby and he said: “I’m sure there will be a few 15s coaches there and, if I put in a good performance, who knows what will happen.”
On potentially playing at Twickenham if Quins win the Series final, Maslen said: “We’ll be doing all we can to get there. If we do get there, I’ll be hoping to get selected for the team again. It would just be amazing to play at the home of rugby in front of a big attendance.”
Maslen is already looking forward to Raiders’ National 2 South campaign starting next month, after a frustrating season last year.
He tore a kidney in Raiders’ third match of the season in National 1, which ruled him out for four months but he is now raring to go.
He said: “I’m massively looking forward to it. Last year, I had a horrible injury and, having looked forward to the season so much, to miss so much of it was upsetting and gutting.
“I wanted to test myself in the higher division to try to emulate and replicate what I’d done the previous season (20 tries) but I didn’t really get the chance. Promotion is the target this year. The majority of the team have stayed and we’ll have good squad depth this year.”