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The best and worst of Quins

Sun, 06 Jan 2013 19:52
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We need to take other people out of the equation
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Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea admitted his side showed their best and worst traits as they returned to the top of the Premiership table with victory over London Welsh.

The defending Premiership champions convincingly saw off London Welsh 40-3 at the Stoop in Round Two and a similar result looked on the cards as Danny Care, Chris Robshaw and George Lowe all crossed before half-time for a 21-6 lead.

But Nick Scott and Ed Jackson replied after the interval, sandwiching an effort for Nick Evans, as London Welsh valiantly fought back to claim a losing bonus point for their efforts.

Harlequins held on for the win but O'Shea admitted the nervy finish had taken away some of the gloss on what was looking like a comfortable afternoon at the Kassam Stadium.

"We gave them an intercept try which is never a good thing to do - but at times I think we played some absolutely magnificent rugby," said O'Shea.

"We focus on our mistakes, I said to the guys in the dressing room we need to focus on ourselves and take other people out of the equation.

"I'm just massively frustrated - Ollie [Lindsay Hague] came in at full-back and dazzled people with his feet, that's what you want to talk about.

"After 13 games the fact we're top of the league and playing some good rugby is the wrong thing to do for this group. We're meeting expectations head-on and we're meeting teams head-on."

London Wasps moved into the Premiership play-off places after their 29-15 victory over Bath Rugby on Sunday, but defeated head coach Gary Gold insists his side hadn't given up hope on overhauling them.

Christian Wade's brilliant solo try on the stroke of half-time and the boot of Stephen Jones, who finished with 17 points, was the difference as Wasps collected another win at Adams Park.

But Gold, who saw his side get off to a blistering start as full-back Nick Abendanon crossed inside the first minute, is still hopeful of making the play-offs himself even though his Bath side currently sit eighth in the table.

"I think the table is quite tight this year, if you look at it if you're a pessimist and see the glass half empty you could think [we're out of the top four contention]," said Gold.

"But we have a good group of rugby players, the attitude is right and I'm certainly not going to be giving up on the top four going forward.

"At 29-15 it doesn't look like we showed character but I think we did, we started off well and we put them under pressure, but that try just before half-time hurt us there's no doubt about it.

"I think we defended bravely for quite a number of phases at that stage and a piece of brilliance from their very good players led to them getting a try."

Elsewhere on Sunday Owen Farrell kicked 22 points as Saracens celebrated their last Premiership game at Vicarage Road with a 32-12 victory over bottom club Sale Sharks.

On Saturday, George Skivington inspired London Irish to their first triumph in seven Premiership games with an 18-12 victory over Gloucester Rugby.

The former Leicester Tigers lock crossed twice before half-time to give the Exiles a 15-6 advantage at the break and despite Freddie Burns' best efforts - four penalties - they held on for their first win in any competition since November 11.

Elsewhere, Northampton Saints inflicted Exeter Chiefs' first home league defeat this season courtesy of Soane Tonga'uiha, Sireli Naqelevuki and Gerrit-Jan van Velze tries.

Stephen Myler added 15 points with the boot but despite Sireli Naqelevuki's try Chiefs fell to a 30-19 loss at Sandy Park.

Leicester temporarily returned to the top of the Premiership table on Friday with a last-gasp 19-14 victory over Worcester Warriors.

David Lemi's try and three Andy Goode penalties gave the Warriors a 14-point lead before Scott Hamilton went over to close the gap to 14-5 at half-time.

But two penalty tries, the second coming in the last minute of play, secured a vital win for Richard Cockerill's troops.

"That's where we spend our money, we might not have the most expensive wingers but we spent our money on the front row and build backwards," Cockerill said.

"Those guys know how to scrummage and that's what won us the game in the end.

"We work really hard on that part of the game and it's good to see that aspect of the game play it's part."

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