After a breakthrough year, Harlequins' Buchanan insists: The best is still to come
Last season was undoubtedly Rob Buchanan’s breakthrough year, culminating in an England call-up for the summer tour to Argentina.
But the Harlequins hooker insists that the best is still to come as he bids to cement the number two shirt for Conor O’Shea’s side.
The 22-year-old beat off stiff competition to win Quins’ young player of the season award for his efforts in the 2012/13 campaign.
Buchanan featured in 20 Aviva Premiership Rugby games last season for Quins, highlighted by an all-action try-scoring performance against Northampton Saints on the final day of the regular season.
But of those 20 appearances all but three came off the bench with Joe Gray holding down the starting berth for the majority of the campaign.
However, such was Buchanan’s impact off the bench that it was he who got the call-up for England’s South American adventure this summer and although the youngster did not get a cap, he is confident that the new season will see a continued improvement.
“I’m massively proud of last season,” said Buchanan, who will be hoping to feature at the London Double Header on September 7, when Harlequins face London Wasps.
“It gives you confidence going into this year and a bit of self belief, which is always important, but that was last year, hopefully I can move on and progress and be even better this year.
“I was chuffed with the Young Player of the Year award. I wasn’t really expecting it, I was up against Luke Wallace and Charlie Matthews and they both played quite a few games, I think more games than me, and they are both really good rugby players, so maybe I was a bit lucky.
“It was a great experience to tour with England. It was a dream come true for me, everyone wants to play for England.
“Unfortunately I didn’t get a cap but just to go out and get the experience was great; touring is always fun.
Good competition: Buchanan won the young player of the year award ahead of the likes of Charlie Matthews, centre SP70836
“It [not getting a cap] dampens it a little bit but I’m only 22, I’ve got a lot of things to learn to progress. If I get picked now, if I keep working hard hopefully I’ll get a chance in the future.”
While the league season saw Buchanan used primarily as an impact player off the bench, the hooker was a mainstay of the young side that won the LV= Cup.
O’Shea opted to stick with youth for their cup campaign and they fought off a full-strength Sale Sharks side to take the crown at Sixways, Worcester last season.
And Buchanan is hoping that their cup success will act as a springboard for the younger stars as they look to make the step-up to the first team this season.
“The LV= Cup team wasn’t exactly our first team, full of internationals, but we came up against teams like Sale Sharks who put out internationals; it just shows you that if the team buys into one ethos that pulls you through,” he added.
“What I like to think I do is based around hard work and training hard, so that’s what I’ll try and do this year. I’ll carry on, get all the extras in, work as hard as I can and try and improve.”
The London Double Header returns to Twickenham on 7 September with two crucial Aviva Premiership Rugby matches: London Irish v Saracens followed by London Wasps v Harlequins. Tickets from ticketmaster.co.uk
Winners: Buchanan was part of the successful Harlequins side that won the LV= Cup last season Picture: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
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