Europe has proved a happy hunting ground for Harlequins this season while the meat and drink of Aviva Premiership Rugby has been a struggle – but all that is set to change according to Will Collier.
The tight-head prop has been part of an inspired front-row that came within a whisker of leading Quins to back-to-back victories over Leinster in the last fortnight.
A narrow 14-13 reversal in Dublin last time out was a bitter pill for Conor O’Shea’s side to swallow but now focus returns to the league where Quins are in trouble.
The London club have only won four of their first nine games of the season and currently sit down in ninth in the table.
Collier admits their current domestic form is unacceptably poor but has backed his teammates to put it right over the next four clashes.
“We are massively frustrated with the result against Leinster, we had an opportunity to go over there and achieve something historic so it’s bitterly disappointing,” he said.
“It’s a huge challenge over Christmas now, we have looked hard at this period.
“We are not where we want to be at all in the league, we are happy with Europe but we have drawn a line under Leinster and now it is all about this month.
“We are a big game team, we like to play on the big occasions and now we have put ourselves in a position where pretty much every game is a big game for us.
“But that is a challenge that we are looking forward and one that I think we can go well in.”
Discipline has proved a problem for Quins this season and Collier admits that he and his front-row teammates will have to learn the lessons from their chastening defeat to Bath Rugby last month.
Quins were given three yellow cards at the Rec as a retreating scrum felt the referee’s ire but Collier insists he and his teammates have already proven that performance was an anomaly.
“We have been really pleased with the front row, against Leinster we were playing the starting Ireland front-row from the autumn,” he added.
“And coming off the back of a tough time in Bath it was great to right those wrongs.
“It can only take one game sometimes to get people doubting you but we are delighted with how we came through it.
“The Bath game was a series of different things, it’s hard to make excuses but Mark (Lambert) was very ill so we had not practiced that much.
“Then the first couple of decisions went against us and after that they have got the referee on their side and then you’re in trouble.
“We have analysed every game, talked about this consistency and why we have struggled, and looking in detail at areas where it is going wrong.
“Discipline has been a big factor in why we have struggled so we will be hoping to change that.
“But there have been a lot of positives from our analysis as well, now it is about applying those finishing touches.”
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