Charlie Walker says Harlequins need to use their heads in order to restore their Aviva Premiership Rugby form after admitting rash play cost his side dearly in defeat to Wasps.
Many teams have been on the end of a humbling by Wasps this year – not least league leaders Saracens – and it happened to Harlequins last weekend.
In actual fact Harlequins were in the game at 21-10 after Walker raced over in the 55th minute, but they proceeded to concede 21 unanswered points as Wasps brought the Ricoh to its feet.
It takes some of the shine off the Londoners’ superb win over top four rivals Leicester Tigers in Round 13, and they’ve slipped down to sixth as a result.
It does not help when Harlequins have not only lost some of their stalwarts to the Six Nations but also half-back pair Karl Dickson and Nick Evans to injury – not that Walker is searching for an excuse.
“We just need to play a bit smarter and playing in the right areas of the pitch,” said Walker. “Sometimes you’ve got to realise in attack when you’re not going anywhere, but we trust our halves fully to put us in the right place and it’s something all of us have to take forward.
“Wasps are playing really well, they’re a great team, but we’re not happy with our performance. We have had our meeting and need to pick ourselves up, we need to sort out our mindset in defence and putting that right.
“We can’t let people run through us, offloading here and there, like we did against Wasps.
“We just need to show we can do it. We’ve got a good group of boys here and we know, as we’ve proved this year, we’ve got a side who can win games.
“When we played Wasps at our ground earlier in the season we got one up on them, so we know we can beat anyone, we just need to get back to those winning ways consistently.
“Karl and Nick are big losses but this is why every Premiership side has a big squad. It’s a contact sport and injuries do happen and that’s not in our control. We have lost their experience but we don’t want to be making excuses and we know we can get by without them.”
His team may be suffering from indifferent form but Walker is a model of try-scoring consistency after crossing six times in his last five Aviva Premiership Rugby games.
That’s been helped by the injury to, and subsequent Scotland call-up for fellow wing Tim Visser – and 23-year-old Walker knows this is his chance to put the foot down alongside Marland Yarde and Ross Chisholm.
“It’s just helped by me getting picked every week, which isn’t always the easiest thing,” Walker added. “I can only help myself by scoring more tries and personally it’s great to have that run of games.
“You never want to lose players during the year, but having Marland and Ross fit and firing is a boost.
“I’ve played with Ross so many times, and Marland I’ve played with even longer for and against through the age groups – little things like that, having played so much with them before, you tend to know what they’re thinking and it helps.”