Quins will not be satisfied with season without a trophy
Quins might have recovered from a slow start to an injury-plagued campaign to be on the brink of Amlin Cup and Premiership success, but director of rugby Conor O’Shea will take no satisfaction unless there is silverware in the trophy cabinet.
Harlequins beat Leicester Tigers 24-20 at the Stoop last Friday to remain in the hunt for a top-four finish ahead of this Friday’s trip to Northampton Saints for their European semi-final clash.
O’Shea has seen his side win five of their past six league games to put themselves in with a chance of a play-off place, having lost three of their opening five matches.
Harlequins have stuck to their attacking principles throughout the season – including during the difficult Six Nations period – and the Quins chief does not want his team to stop now.
“It means nothing unless you get there. The team that wins the title is the one that gets remembered,” he said.
“We know we have learnt a huge number of lessons this season – how to manage adversity on and off the pitch and how to come back kicking through the other side and also a belief in our style.
“There is a saying we had at the start of the season, ‘you can’t steal second base by keeping your foot on first’.
“We’ll take chances. Sometimes it won’t come off, but we’ll keep trying and that’s the way we play. That doesn’t mean it is the right way, but it is our way.
“I’ve never heard the Stoop like that before. It was absolutely rocking.
“We played with ambition and I love to see my side play like that. It is what we are about and I would have been just as proud of them if we’d lost that game.
“We have to win our final two games and even then it might not be enough.
“But we will go to Northampton with the bit between our teeth and we will try and get to a final.”
Harlequins fly-half Nick Evans will miss tonight’s (Friday) Amlin Cup semi-final clash at Northampton Saints.
The 33-year-old hobbled off in last week’s Premiership win over Leicester Tigers with a recurrence of the foot injury that has plagued him in recent weeks.
Evans’ replacement Ben Botica was instrumental in leading Quins to victory last week as he set up Mike Brown for a key try and added a late penalty to seal the win.
Botica, who will start at Franklin’s Gardens, is replaced on the bench by Louis Grimoldby, who has spent much of this season on loan at National
Division One South Richmond.
England prop Joe Marler returns to the starting line-up in place of Mark Lambert after missing out last week with a sore shoulder.
Meanwhile, Harlequins winger Gabriel Ibitoye bagged a brace of tries in a man of the match performance as England U16s beat Scotland U16s
32-22 on Saturday.