Conor O’Shea believes Harlequins need to become more consistent despite recording a six-try 46-25 Aviva Premiership Rugby win over Newcastle Falcons.
Harlequins boosted their semi-final hopes thanks to tries from Tim Visser, Jack Clifford, Joe Gray, Joe Marchant and Marland Yarde at the Twickenham Stoop to keep pace with the top four.
But the final scoreline did not give a true reflection of how hard O’Shea’s men were forced to work as Newcastle only trailed 28-25 with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Harlequins’ director of rugby O’Shea said: “We knew from their team selection with Sinoti Sinoti and Marcus Watson picked that they were going to have a go.
“With the players coming back, they’re beginning to bed in and you can see that when we have the ball in hand we need to be consistent.
“It’s nice to get that win, score some good tries and have that vibe.
“And it was nice to see Matt Hopper come on to get his 100th game as well because he’s been a massive servant and will be for years to come.”
O’Shea also singled out Yarde for praise, adding: “He was very physical and he was involved all game, taking the ball. There were a couple of times when he was nearly away.”
Harlequins had led 21-6 at the break before Nili Latu’s brace and Watson’s try brought them to within three points.
But the hosts pulled away in the final quarter and ensured they are five points below fourth-placed Leicester Tigers – with Wasps and Northampton Saints due to play each other tomorrow.
As for Newcastle they are currently four points off the foot of the table, with a crucial fixture against basement side London Irish to come in their next Aviva Premiership Rugby contest in two weeks’ time.
Newcastle’s director of rugby Dean Richards said: “I’m disappointed. It’s what might have been had we not gifted them the three tries in the first half.
“It’s probably that lack of accuracy which has haunted us all year. You have to react to those sorts of thing, which is the most important thing, and we didn’t quite react to it.
“We knew they were going to have a go around the front of the line-out.
“We probably showed them too much respect in the first half. When you’ve got a team that’s got Marler, Horwill, Robshaw, Clifford, Brown, Roberts; I mean it’s not a bad side.
“We came out and we played with a bit of endeavour. When we didn’t show them any respect we scored three tries and I thought we looked pretty sharp then. But then we lost Sean Robinson to the bin and we started chasing the game.”
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Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Marchant, Roberts, Visser (Chisholm 57); Botica, Care (Dickson 57); Marler (Lambert 57), Gray (Ward 71), Collier (Sinckler 12), Merrick, Horwill (Twomey 51), Robshaw, Clifford, Easter (Luamanu 51)
Not used: Hopper
Newcastle Falcons: Tait; Watson, Harris, Powell (Agulla 49), Sinoti (Hammersley 59); Delany, Young (Takulua 49); Vickers (Rogers 59), McGuigan (Lawson 56), Vea (Hatakeyama 49), Wilson (Robinson 40), Green, Latu, Welch, Hogg
Not used: Willis
Tries: Visser 2, Clifford, Gray, Marchant, Yarde
Conversions: Botica 5
Penalties: Botica 2
Tries: Watson, Latu 2
Conversions: Delany 2
Penalties: Delany 2
Referee: Matthew Carley