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Joe Marchant: Harlequins’ sights set only on top six – for now

Harlequins might have a European final to look forward to but Joe Marchant insists thoughts of Montpellier are far from their minds as they first aim to ensure they keep hold of an Aviva Premiership Rugby top-six spot.

With Sale Sharks losing to Gloucester Rugby on Friday night, Harlequins made the most of the slip-up by putting London Irish to the sword 32-25.

That win moved them into sixth spot – the final Champions Cup berth – with just one game in Aviva Premiership Rugby game remaining.

And while Montpellier await in Lyon in the European Challenge Cup final on May 13, Marchant is adamant Harlequins’ focus is purely on Exeter Chiefs this weekend as he bids to help keep Sale Sharks at bay in the final league clash of the season.

“The win against London Irish was a really good win for us,” he said. “We knew what we needed to do and we did that and now we are back in the top six with one game to go.

“It was great to see them off and pick up the five points and the aim now is to pick up another five points and ensure we finish in the top six.

“We have plenty to play for still this season, even if it might not be what we were hoping for at the beginning of the season, with top six in our sights and then the game with Montpellier.

“That game against Montpellier is obviously a big one but we take things one game at a time here.

“We want to nail a European Champions Cup spot for next season first and then we will turn our focus to Montpellier.

“We know that if we go half-hearted into the game with Exeter then we will lose, so we have to be professional and do the job there first and then we can start looking forward to Lyon.”

Exeter Chiefs will be no pushovers on Saturday, despite having already secured an Aviva Premiership Rugby semi-final spot – their 24-3 demolition of fellow high-flyers Wasps is testament to that.

But with the clash marking the final game at the Twickenham Stoop for director of rugby Conor O’Shea before he takes up the reins with Italy, Marchant is hoping they can send the Irishman out on a high.

“Everyone wants to win and send Conor off in the best possible way so that should help us out on Saturday,” he added.

“It will be a big occasion and he deserves to go off in style so hopefully that can spur us on the get the result.”

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