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Kohn: Quins know what it takes to succeed
8:00am Monday 21st January 2013 in Rugby News
Much like his line-out duties on the rugby pitch, Harlequins' Olly Kohn has endured an up and down last few days - the highs of a domestic contract extension countered with the disappointment of missing out on an international call-up.
Signing on until 2014 with the Aviva Premiership champions, the 31-year-old believes there is no better place for him to see out his career than at a team bursting with confidence, belief and a winning mentality.
And with the chance of donning the Welsh jersey in this year's Six Nations now out of the question, Kohn insists his focus solely lies with helping Quins conquer their next challenge.
But faced with an exciting second half of the season, sitting at the summit of the Aviva Premiership thanks to a 31-26 victory over London Welsh at the start of January, Kohn revealed there is much excitement on the training pitch despite the arctic weather.
"I am absolutely delighted to have signed a new deal," said Kohn.
"This is a club I have had a great time at and I've been here for a long time and one of the elders but I am excited to finish my career here at a great club with a great bunch of lads.
"I am 31 now and I would like to think I have a few good years left so it would be good to end it here. My family are settled and I am honoured to be a part of such a great club.
"It is exciting times ahead for us. We have had to work incredibly hard in the first half of the season. Beating Connacht three times this year was very difficult, particularly with their physicality.
"And it is exciting coming in on a Monday morning knowing there are a lot of challenges ahead.
"After winning some silverware we know what it takes to see things through and it's not easy. You don't get to finals without working very hard and beating some great sides.
"It was all quite quick with Wales. I would have been delighted to have been involved because I know they had a few injuries, but my job and my focus now is with Harlequins and to help them push on."
In contrast prop James Johnston has decided to leave the club at the end of the season for Saracens - but Kohn insists although he will miss his scrummaging colleague, Quins possess the talent necessary to step up and replace him.
"He [Johnston] is a great guy," he added.
"I have him sitting on my shoulders most weeks and I will miss his smell, but he knows he has a job to do for Quins until the end of the season.
"It was never a club I would want to leave. The core group of players here has remained the same and the biggest quality is that we have massive belief and will continue to do so.
"We are all sad to see him go but we have the likes of Will Collier and Kyle Sinckler coming through who are immense talents and will show that."
Meanwhile, England flanker Tom Croft insists it won’t just be the Aviva Premiership players on international duty at the Six Nations in February and March dreaming of a Lions call-up this summer.
An uncapped Will Greenwood travelled to South Africa in 1997 and although the trend in recent seasons has been to take season internationals – the likes of Ollie Smith and Andy Titterell in 2005, John Bentley in 1997 and Jason Robinson in 2001 have all travelled with single figure caps.
“That will be their primary goal whether you’re playing international rugby or in plying your trade in the Aviva Premiership week-in-week-out,” said Croft.
“But being a Lions' year there is that added bit of pressure and it will be in the back of every player’s mind, nagging away that if they perform well that there is likelihood they will get a Lions call- up which is a huge accolade.”
*SSE has launched Rugby Energy, supporting community rugby clubs by giving them advice on saving money on their energy bills. To kick start 2013 SSE are offering clubs £10,000 worth of kit. For your chance to WIN just register on SSERugby.com and find out how your club can start benefitting.