Snap decision to join Harlequins paying off for Sam Hidalgo-Clyne

Sam Hidalgo-Clyne of Harlequins in action during the Gallagher Premiership match with Northampton Saints on April 13. Picture: Getty Images
Sam Hidalgo-Clyne of Harlequins in action during the Gallagher Premiership match with Northampton Saints on April 13. Picture: Getty Images
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Sam Hidalgo-Clyne had only half-an-hour to decide if a loan move to Harlequins was the right one for him but now he is out to make up for lost time with the English outfit as they continue to fight for two trophies.

The 25-year-old scrum-half played for Scotland as recently as last summer and has 12 caps under his belt, but his transfer to Welsh side Scarlets from Guinness Pro14 rivals Edinburgh Rugby, which took place ahead of the 2018-19 campaign, has not gone completely to plan.

After a bright start to the term, he has found matchday action hard to come by with the likes of Gareth Davies and Kieran Hardy ahead of him in the pecking order.

With Charlie Mulchrone out for a long period, Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard was keen to get an experienced operator in for the final two months of the season midway through March.

With European signing and squad change deadlines looming, when Hidalgo-Clyne heard the London side were interested he had to decide almost immediately whether to go or not.

He decided to move and was an unused substitute at the Olympic Stadium in a defeat to Saracens on 23 March, but since then he has come off the bench against Worcester Warriors in the European Rugby Challenge Cup last-eight triumph and started last Saturday in the league against Northampton Saints.

This weekend, they travel to France to take on Greig Laidlaw, pictured, and Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final of the Challenge Cup, while they are still right in the mix for making the Gallagher Premiership play-offs. “At Scarlets, Gareth has been playing regularly and they have been backing him up with Kieran, who has done pretty well so far, so they just told me that Harlequins were needing scrum-half cover for the rest of the year and wanted to know if a loan move would be of interest to me,” Hidalgo-Clyne recounts about the time when the move was mooted during March.

“That was at about 11.30am one day and I had to decide pretty quickly because of various things, but I jumped at the chance once I knew my family were happy with it because I want to be playing more rugby and you don’t get the chance to join a club of the stature of Harlequins every day.

“I am just excited to be back playing and to have come into the squad at a time of the season like this when we still have big league games to come and are fighting for European silverware is great.

“The biggest thing when you come into a club midway through the season as a scrum-half is to try and quickly learn all of the calls and get to know how your new team mates like to play and what they like their No 9 to do.

“Looking ahead to the weekend, we know that Clermont are a strong side and they have good players all over the field, but to be just one step away from a final at St James’ 
Park is something special 
and we will be giving it everything.

“To play against Greig again will be fun. I know what he is all about and he will be determined, but so are we.

“When I was at Edinburgh and he was at Gloucester we played against each other in the Challenge Cup final at Harlequins’ The Stoop ground back in 2015.

“Edinburgh lost that night [19-13] so hopefully my team can get a more positive result this time around.”