JOE Gray reckons Harlequins scrummage has not suffered for the loss of Joe Marler and James Johnston to international duty.
Once a weak point of Quins' game, this has been put right by hard work on the training ground over the past year or so, with Gray, Marler and Johnston at the centre of it.
But with Marler and Johnston among those missing for the autumn international, one could be forgiven for thinking the bad old days had returned in the scrum.
However, despite last weekend's loss to Bath, Gray believes this is not the case, and those who stepped in have kept the good work going.
He said: “The scrum has been good this year and was so against Bath too. It has not suffered at all really, which is a great credit to everyone involved.
“Will Collier and Mark Lambert have come in and done well in the scrum. Will was only playing his third first team game but was superb.
“All the internationals are a big miss, not just Joe and James, but despite the result against Bath, we have shown we have players who can step in and compete.”
One of those missing was England captain Chris Robshaw, who has been slated for choosing to kick the points rather than going for touch with a late penalty in a tight game against South Africa.
Perhaps it would have been different if the man charged with line-out duties, which England had squandered all day, was a man described by Quins coach John Kingston as the best line-out thrower in the country.
That man was Gray, who was called up for England's tour of South Africa in the summer but is yet to make the step up from the Saxons to a full international cap – one of those ahead of him being his old Northampton pal Dylan Hartley.
He added: “Chris is a great captain and works so hard. Would he have made the same call (with Gray at the line-out)? I'm not sure, it's a hard call. We found ourselves in the same situation against Bath, and we took the points too. You don't know unless you're in that situation.
“You always hope for more chances in the future, but Dylan is a great player. But you don't get international recognition if you're not playing well for your club, and Quins is a great club to be at for getting noticed these days.”