Harlequins cannot afford to be beaten by Exeter Chiefs next weekend, according to director of rugby Conor O’Shea, after a dispiriting defeat at Wasps on Sunday.
Quins managed just two Nick Evans penalties while two Wasps penalty tries added to scores from Tom Varndell and Elliot Daly to secure maximum points for the hosts at the Ricoh Arena.
And O’Shea, who is without a handful of experienced players during the international period, is demanding a swift improvement at the Stoop next weekend.
"Some young players are learning some harsh lessons at present and our confidence is brittle at the moment," O'Shea said.
"It's a tough unforgiving league but we will keep fighting. Next week's game against Exeter is a must win for us."
Elsewhere on Sunday, Sale Sharks ran in eight tries to beat London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium, with wingers Will Addison and Tom Arscott each grabbing a double – as did hooker Tommy Taylor.
And Bath missed out on a losing bonus point at Allianz Park, despite a Semesa Rokoduguni double and a try for Olly Woodburn.
Chris Wyles, Jamie George and Chris Ashton scored for the hosts, while Alex Goode amassed 16 points from the tee, and Bath head coach Mike Ford was left frustrated.
"I was pleased with the way we came back and if anything in that last ten minutes,” he said. “I thought we had the momentum and could have got a draw there but again our ill discipline let us down.
"We have a huge game next week against Northampton so we will lick our wounds, pick out the positives from this game and come back stronger."
Exeter Chiefs won the only Aviva Premiership Rugby clash on Saturday, five different try-scorers crossing over to lead them to a 46-17 triumph over Newcastle Falcons.
London Irish ran league-leaders Northampton Saints close at Franklin’s Gardens on Friday night, courtesy of three Shane Geraghty penalties.
But Ken Pisi and Sam Dickinson each dotted down to ensure the Exiles left with just a losing bonus point.
"We have done well, but we can't be satisfied,” reflected London Irish interim boss Glenn Delaney. “We had the winning of the game in our hands, but we didn't execute it.
“It is as tough as it gets here. We pride ourselves on our forward play and this is the acid test coming here.”
And Freddie Burns booted Leicester Tigers to an 18-15 victory over his former side Gloucester Rugby, the England fly-half’s six penalties better than opposite number James Hook’s five.
Wasps 37 Harlequins 6
Tries: Varndell, Daly, Penalty Try 2
Conversions: Goode 3, Lozowski
Penalties: Goode 3
Penalties: Evans 2
Referee: Greg Garner
Saracens 34 Bath Rugby 24
Tries: Wyles, George, Ashton
Conversions: Goode 2
Penalties: Hodgson, Goode 4
Tries: Rokoduguni 2, Woodburn
Conversions: Homer 3
Referee: Luke Pearce
London Welsh 12 Sale Sharks 52
Tries: R Lewis, Fonua
Tries: Haley, Taylor 2, Addison 2, Arscott 2, Cueto
Conversions: Macleod 5, Ford
Referee: Tim Wigglesworth
Exeter Chiefs 46 Newcastle Falcons 17
Tries: Nowell, Slade, Penalty, Waldrom, Dollman, Thomas
Conversions: Slade 4, Steenson
Penalties: Slade 2
Tries: Tipuna, Welch
Conversions: Catterick 2
Referee: Thomas Foley
Northampton Saints 15 London Irish 9
Tries: K Pisi, Dickinson
Penalties: Geraghty 3
Referee: Andrew Small
Leicester Tigers 18 Gloucester Rugby 15
Penalties: Burns 6
Penalties: Hook 5
Referee: JP Doyle
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