Loan signing George Merrick says he is amazed Ealing Trailfinders have struggled this year.
The giant Harlequins second row made his home debut in Friday night’s 21-18 British & Irish Cup win over Moseley and his powerful carries and sheer presence up front made him an instant hit with home fans.
He added an extra dimension to the pack and although he somewhat spoiled his evening with a late yellow card, he contributed hugely to a fine team performance far removed from the travails of much of the season.
“It’s a bit shocking that they have struggled as much,” said Merrick, who will stay with Trailfinders until the end of the season.
“It’s a bit surprising. But if we play like this every week, there’s no reason why we can’t stay up and even be mid-table contenders.
“It’s a really great set-up, with a great bunch of lads and if I wasn’t at Quins, this would definitely be a club I’d be wanting to come to.
“I think they’ve just been a bit unfortunate with their previous results. I think we showed [against Moseley] what we’re capable of.
“We’ve put down a marker now and a lot of teams will see that result and take note.”
Even the arrival of a much-fancied Bristol side to Vallis Way tomorrow (Saturday) is no reason to rein
in ambitions, according to Trailfinders’ 20-year-old newcomer.
“Bristol are a great side, but there are always upsets and there’s no reason why we can’t produce one if we carry on the form from our last game,” Merrick said.
“The table says they’re better than us but that doesn’t prove anything and hopefully we will go flying in there.
“It is easier being the underdogs because there’s not much pressure. They might come out with the attitude that we’re easy pickings because we’re at the bottom of the table, and hopefully we can show them what we’re about and that we mean business.”
Whatever the rest of the season brings, home fans can rest assured that the 6ft 7in lock will be committed to the cause.
“It’s a good experience for me, getting as much game time as I can,” he said. “I think being here under [director of rugby] Mike Cudmore’s coaching is really going to help me along.
“I’ve played some Premiership games this year at Harlequins, and a few Heineken Cup games, but I’m still young and still learning my trade.”