Mikalcius can put heat on big names at Quins

The Rugby Paper - - News, World Sevens Series - ■ By NEALE HAR­VEY

IM­POS­ING Hart­pury wing Jonas Mikalcius pos­sesses the “world-class” phys­i­cal at­tributes nec­es­sary to chal­lenge Test stars Mar­land Yarde and Tim Visser for their places at Har­lequins, ac­cord­ing to col­lege team­mate Luke Eves.

Lithua­nian dy­namo Mikalcius, 23, joined the Har­lequins academy last year but spent this sea­son at Hart­pury, plun­der­ing 36 tries in a record-breaking cam­paign that saw the Na­tional One cham­pi­ons win all 30 of their matches.

Mikalcius – who stands 6ft 3in (1.90m) tall and weighs in at 17st 12lb (112kg) – now re­joins Har­lequins full-time, with Eves telling TRP: “Phys­i­cally, Jonas, 100 per cent, has the abil­ity to chal­lenge Yarde and Visser.

“He’s got world-class phys­i­cal at­tributes and if you com­pare him to any winger in world rugby right now, he’d be up there.

“He’ll get in there with Quins now and if he can get his game-un­der­stand­ing up to Premier­ship stan­dard, he can really kick on. It’s go­ing to be a big year for Jonas but I’m con­fi­dent he can make those im­prove­ments.”

Hart­pury will turn their at­ten­tion to the Cham­pi­onship, which will bring Eves face to face with the Bris­tol side he left in 2015.

Eves, 28, al­most quit rugby after then-boss Andy Robin­son’s de­cided to dump him, be­fore a ca­reer twist took him to Hart­pury.

Eves said: “If it hadn’t been for Hart­pury giv­ing me a chance, I wouldn’t be in this situation now. I’m signed on for next sea­son and will coach the U18s, so I don’t re­gret any­thing.

“It’s not gone well for Bris­tol this sea­son, which must be soul-de­stroy­ing hav­ing fought so hard to get back in the Premier­ship, but we’ll look for­ward to wel­com­ing the likes of Ian Madi­gan and Steven Lu­atua next sea­son.”

As for Hart­pury’s tier two chances, Eves added: “It’ll be un­charted ter­ri­tory for a lot of our guys and we’ll lose a few play­ers like Jonas and Jake Polledri, so we know there’s work to do but the coaches will bring in new peo­ple.

“We might sur­prise a few peo­ple.”

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