Lost point no worry for Quins
Sun, 29 Dec 2013 14:16
Harlequins may have let a bonus point slip against Exeter Chiefs despite a flurry of chances, but Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea insists his side's commanding performance more than makes up for it.
Quins put on a fine showing in front of a raucous Twickenham crowd - as Nick Evans, Charlie Walker and Mike Brown all crashed over in the first half.
They could not follow up their unrelenting pace after the break - Evans coming up with a solitary three-pointer - but by limiting the Chiefs to just two Gareth Steenson penalties, the Londoners completed the job.
And though there were opportunities to grab the important bonus point, O'Shea believes his Quins side have shown they are not about to slip out of the Aviva Premiership's top four.
"I think I'll take emotion out of it straight after the game and it [the reaction] has to be positive because I thought some of the rugby, there were very few teams that could play the way we played at times," he said.
"It became a bit frantic and loose in the last 20 minutes, but in your emotion when you think of that, you forget what those first 40, 50 minutes were like.
"It's a massive game in the context of our season, we fought tooth and nail and we said we wanted to get to game 11 with all the trials and tribulations, the unavailability and injury that we still have, and still be in the top four.
"For me we're going to get stronger, and stronger, and stronger and that's what it's about. Are we frustrated not to get a bonus point? Yes. But it wasn't just us who cost us getting the bonus point as we've beaten a good side."
It is back to the drawing board for the Chiefs, who were just one point behind fourth-placed Quins heading into the Saturday fixtures.
And head coach Rob Baxter admits the Londoners had his side rattled before posting an improved showing in the second half.
"Great credit to Harlequins, they knocked us off our game and we couldn't knock them off much of what they wanted to do," he said.
"We're a little bit disappointed about how we went about the first half but we undid a fair bit of that damage in the second half.
"We probably should have forced a score, that would have made that bonus point something we could have hunted for at the death - it came a bit of a target for us in the second half.
"You can't really have a Plan B for poor kicks, dropping the ball and missing your tackles. It wasn't our plan, it was how you enact it and Harlequins did all their parts.
"I'm not sitting here panicking about where the Exeter Chiefs are heading, we're in the European Cup and are in the top six in the Premiership, halfway through the season fighting for the top four."
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