John Kingston hailed the versatility of his team after they beat Exeter Chiefs to get their Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign off to a dream start at The Stoop.
A brilliant early score from Aaron Morris put the home side 8-0 up before the Chiefs responded through James Short.
However, the deadly kicking of Nick Evans was crucial as the Londoners pulled away in the second half with the former New Zealand international accounting for 14 points in the 29-15 success.
Exeter threatened to come back as Elvis Taione scored after the break, but Charlie Walker and Luc Jones crossed late on to leave an impressed Kingston delighted with his young chargers.
“Both teams were struggling with injuries, it was problematic positionally, a lot of people out of position,” said director of rugby Kingston.
“It makes me more proud of them that they got the job done. You’re looking at two sides who traditionally take this competition very seriously
“You can see that from the commitment and effort that went in. To single out people is invidious really but Jones did amazingly and Charlie Mulchrone was just sensational.”
It was a case of what might have been for Exeter though, as they led heading into the final quarter only to let it slip.
Exeter skills coach Ricky Pellow admits his side have a lot to work on, but says the young players involved will all learn from their mistakes and the experience of playing at Anglo-Welsh Cup level.
“A lot of the younger guys came in and got their first senior appearances – from that perspective it was a positive outcome,” he said.
“Performance and result wise it wasn’t the way we wanted to start the competition. I think from us in this competition, every year we’ve looked to attack it, tonight both sides put out quality sides
“We’ll reset, we’ve done this before where we’ve started off and got a loss under our belt and gone on to get wins under our belt and get to the semi-final
“Disappointing but we’ll reset and come back in on Tuesday, work on the things that didn’t go well for us and focus for Cardiff
“If we can get a good result at home then we’re still in with a really good chance to move forward in the group.”
Harlequins: Morris, Walker, Marchant (L Jones 42), Lang, Alofa (Chisholm 1, Jackson 41), Evans, Mulchrone, Lambert (Evans 75), Gray (Piper 75), Collier (A Jones 75), South (Reddish 35), Matthews, Chisholm (Naoupu 75), Ward, Luamanu
Exeter Chiefs: Dollman (Strong 30), Bodilly, Devoto, Hill (Townsend 73), Short, Hooley (Simmonds 7), Maunder, Moon (Keast 72), Malton (Taione 49), Holmes (Low 58), Atkins (Welch 53), Hill, Ewers, White (Lawday 63), Johnson
Tries: Morris, Walker, L Jones
Penalties: Evans 4
Tries: Short, Taione
Referee: Craig Evans