Graham tips Lindsay-Hague for stardom
July 7, 2012
Ollie Lindsay-Hague in action in last year's Sevens tournament © Getty Images
Harlequins academy boss Howard Graham has claimed that Ollie Lindsay-Hague has the potential to be "leading the side" in the next five years.
The young versatile back has already shone for England on the Sevens circuit but is yet to cement his spot in the Quins first-team. With the likes of Mike Brown, Ugo Monye, Tom Williams and Ross Chisholm all pushing for the starting spots in the Harlequins back three, Lindsay-Hague faces a mission to stake his claim. But he is set to be unleashed in the J.P Morgan Asset Management Sevens Series on Friday at the Stoop and Graham believes he has the potential to transfer his Sevens expertise on to the XV stage.
"Ollie Lindsay-Hague has got a talent that you can't really coach," Graham said. "On the 7s pitch he just shines through because he has more space. Transferring that to the 15s is obviously his main goal for this season, but he is an exciting talent and with ball in hand with a broken field there are few people who are better.
"He is working hard on his strength and conditioning. He has played in wet conditions in Leicester, made good decisions on the ball and played a part in one of the Anglo-Welsh Cup games. It is up to him now to focus and take it forward. It is always difficult to get your nose into a winning side because people want to keep a silverware-winning side together. You have just got to wait for your chances and they will always come.
"Ollie has certainly got the potential to be leading the side in five years' time. He can certainly cement his place in the 15s and keep pushing on."
The J.P Morgan Sevens series has traditionally been used to blood youngsters but Quins will combine some youth with older heads come Friday. For Graham, the tournament will give him a chance to see some of his academy players in a high-pressure environment and he claims this is all part of their development.
"It gives the youngsters a platform to perform on, which is a great opportunity for them," Graham said. "They are experiencing a high-pressure situation in front of a packed stadium and so the next time they play in that environment, like in the Premiership, they won't be as apprehensive of the noise and are more used to it. It is a building process.
"It allows us to observe players in isolation and see if they are playing well or not. We can see how they handle that pressure and cope with it all. We have got a strong academy. You can't nick players - you have to bring them through. We select small but expect them to make the grade rather than having a blanket approach."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column
The latest Monday Maul looks at the hectic final weekend, the Lions hangover, the superb Mike Brown and the 'selfie'
"At the crux of this England team is a lack of fear, they are not afraid to throw playbooks out of the window." Tom Hamilton reports from Twickenham