Dai Young was bursting with pride after seeing his Wasps side fight back against Leinster to claim a 20-20 draw and almost guarantee their spot in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-finals.
Wasps hosted the Irish province knowing victory would take them into the last eight, but they made a slow start and trailed 20-6 at half-time.
Converted tries from Matt Mullan and Nathan Hughes drew them level, but Andy Goode sent his last-gasp drop-goal wide to leave their fate out of their own hands.
Young said: “I was proud of the display in the second half and proud of the players.
“Coming into half-time with that mountain to climb, against such a quality outfit, it could have been quite easy to throw in the towel.
“You can’t doubt the character of this group. It wasn’t quite enough to get what we wanted, but we’ve got to be proud of the effort.”
That result meant Harlequins’ hopes of reaching the last eight were dashed but Conor O’Shea’s side were clearly not deterred.
Tries from Joe Marler, Charlie Walker, Danny Care, Jack Clifford, Mark Lambert, Marland Yarde and George Lowe saw them coast to a 47-19 victory at Castres Olympique.
Northampton Saints are in the last eight but they were denied a home quarter-final by Racing Metro, losing 32-8 at home to the French side.
And Leicester Tigers finished their European campaign in frustrating fashion, losing 26-7 at Ulster with just a converted Adam Thompstone try to show for their efforts.
In the European Rugby Challenge Cup London Irish secured a home quarter-final with a 34-6 victory over Rovigo.
The Exiles scored five tries, including an Ofisa Treviranus hat-trick, and interim boss Glenn Delaney insisted their Italian hosts put up a stiff fight on the day.
He said: “You’ve got to pay a lot of respect to Rovigo. They are an incredibly tough team to beat.
“Emotionally they are very strong and physically they are excellent. We had to work for the full 80 minutes to get the result we wanted.”
There were six different try scorers as Exeter Chiefs demolished Bayonne 45-3 to make sure of their home quarter-final.
And Newcastle Falcons will join them in the knockout stages after a 52-10 win at Bucharest Wolves, Rob Vickers, Juan Pablo Socino and Alex Tait each dotting down twice.
European Rugby Champions Cup
Wasps 20 Leinster 20
Tries: Mullan, Hughes
Conversions: Goode 2
Penalties: Goode 2
Tries: McFadden, Boss
Conversions: Madigan 2
Penalties: Madigan, Gopperth
Referee: Jerome Garces
Castres Olympique 19 Harlequins 47
Tries: Dupont, Cabannes, Beattie
Conversions: Dumora 2
Tries: Marler, Walker, Care, Clifford, Lambert, Yarde, Lowe
Conversions: Evans 6
Referee: Leighton Hodges
Northampton Saints 8 Racing Metro 32
Tries: Imhoff 2, Lapeyre, Roberts
Conversions: Machenaud 3
Penalties: Machenaud 2
Referee: Nigel Owens
Ulster 26 Leicester Tigers 7
Tries: Cave 3, Gilroy
Conversions: Pienaar 2, Humphreys
Referee: Pascal Gauzere
European Rugby Challenge Cup
Rovigo 6 London Irish 34
Penalties: Basson 2
Tries: Treviranus 3, Short, Ojo
Conversions: Geraghty 3
Referee: Gary Conway
Bucharest Wolves 10 Newcastle Falcons 52
Tries: Vickers 2, Socino 2, Tait 2, Penalty, Davies
Conversions: Catterick 6
Referee: Neil Hennessey
Exeter Chiefs 45 Bayonne 3
Tries: Nowell, Jess, Ewers, Rimmer, Horstmann, Mumm
Conversions: Steenson 3
Penalties: Slade 3
Penalties: Bustos Moyano
Referee: Andrew McMenemy
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