Last weekend Tim Visser was playing at Wembley in front of 80,000 fans and tomorrow he will be involved in a European Rugby Challenge Cup semi-final – so it is no surprise that the Scotland winger is playing with a smile on his face right now.
When he moved south to Harlequins last summer after a number of years of being a fans’ favourite and regularly the top try scorer with Edinburgh, the Dutch-born 28-year-old knew he would have to battle to earn himself a starting spot with the English giants. He did that early on in the campaign and, after Saturday’s 22-12 loss to Saracens at England’s national football stadium, sits joint third in the Aviva Premiership scoring charts with nine tries this term.
Tomorrow he is likely to be starting in the No 11 jersey when they host Grenoble in the semi-final of the second tier European event at the Twickenham Stoop.
“Obviously I made the final with Edinburgh in this event last year and I am determined to do so again this time around,” Visser explained.
“With Edinburgh we perhaps went into the final against Gloucester as the underdogs, but at Harlequins now that we are in the last four we want to go on and make sure that we pick up some silverware.
“I have great memories of the run with Edinburgh and the fans travelled to London in great numbers for the final – now I want even happier memories in a Harlequins shirt.
“We know that we are good enough to win the next two matches and lift the trophy, but I think the quarter-final gave us a bit of a kick up the backside because we were not good enough and London Irish nearly made us pay.
“In the end we came through that one 38-30, but we slipped below the high standards that we set for ourselves and they scored some pretty soft tries.
“Grenoble are a good side as they showed by defeating Pro12 high fliers Connacht in the last round, but we are the home team and we know that if you put French teams under pressure early on then you can get the upper hand.
“That is what we will be striving to do and I love playing at the Twickenham Stoop.”
The backline at Harlequins is pretty star-studded and Visser has the likes of England duo Danny Care and Mike Brown to feed off, as well as Wales’ powerful centre Jamie Roberts. On the opposite wing Marland Yarde is also a quality finisher and as a result the team – with players such as ex-England skipper Chris Robshaw and Jack Clifford up front – is pleasing on the eye.
“When I decided to move to Harlequins last summer it was because I wanted to test myself in a different league and play in a team that is known to entertain,” Visser said. “Harlequins is a club steeped in history and right from the first day of pre-season I knew that high standards were required every day and I was going to have to be at my best to make sure of a starting place.
“After the World Cup I came back and got a good run of matches and I have just gone on from there and I am loving playing in this team. Every week when you look at the fixture list there is a big game coming up, while when I look inside me there are some amazing talents and they create a lot of chances for the back three.”
The other semi-final is between Montpellier and the Dragons on Saturday.