Director of rugby John Kingston was delighted that team cohesion shone through as Harlequins battled back to secure a comeback victory over Ospreys in the Anglo-Welsh Cup.
The Welsh side had twice taken the lead in St Helen’s through tries from wing Tom O’Flaherty and full-back Dafydd Howells, though George Naoupu and lock Charlie Matthews ensured Quins kept apace.
And with just a handful of minutes on the clock, it came down to kick the decisive penalty, securing a second Anglo-Welsh Cup win of the season for the Aviva Premiership Rugby side.
And while Kingston admitted it was a far from fluent performance, the way the team rallied around each proved a particular point of happiness, securing the points despite losing Adam Jones to the sin-bin in the first half.
Harlequins have now won five of their last six matches as they head into a big week against the Maori All Blacks and Leicester Tigers #COYQ
— Harlequins (@Harlequins) November 11, 2016
“We didn’t play particularly well in the game. It was very stop-start. We were struggling to get one or two things together in a row and get some momentum,” said Kingston.
“But the thing that pleased me most was the way the players stuck together as a group of people and worked their way through it.They could have got frustrated that things weren’t happening as they would have liked them.
“We didn’t defend well at times and they caused us some problems with runners out wide. But the secret is that you have to just get a result when things aren’t necessary going your way.”
Quins not sit top of Anglo-Welsh Cup Pool 3, backing up last week’s win over Aviva Premiership Rugby rivals Exeter Chiefs in perfect fashion.
But a win in Ospreys was, coincidentally, the first time a visiting team had won a game involving John Kingston’s side this season, a run he had been keen to address sooner rather than later.
“It was also a monkey off the back in the sense that we have been losing away from home and people were starting to ask why that was happening.
“The guys stuck in well especially considering that we conceded a try so early in the game.”
While Ospreys suffered defeat at home, it was from doom and gloom for the Welsh region, according to acting forwards coach Tom Smith.
His side next face Aviva Premiership Rugby opposition in the form of Newcastle Falcons in January, while Bristol Rugby also await in the Anglo-Welsh Cup in the coming months.
“It’s a disappointed dressing room. We probably didn’t get out of the game what we deserved,” said Smith.
“But I suppose being disappointed is a positive in the sense that we fielded a very young side. There were eight guys making their senior Ospreys debut and to come up against a good outfit and lose narrowly at the end has got to be a positive.
“We had a good start but then we probably turned over too much ball to allow Harlequins into the game.”
Ospreys: Howells, Grabham, J Thomas (Williams 73), Spratt, O’Flaherty (J Baker 66), Price, Aubrey, G Thomas (Jenkins 73), Otten (Gustafson 77), Jones (Suter 60), Ratti, Thornton, McCusker, Tomalin-Reeves (Underhill 56), D Baker
Harlequins: Morris, Walker, Stanley, Lang (Swiel 47), Cheeseman, Jackson, Jones (Dickson 63), Evans (Murphy 56), Gray, Jones, South, Matthews, Chisholm (White 73), Ward, Naoupu (Shields 32-43)
Tries: O’Flaherty, Howells
Tries: Naoupu, Matthews
Referee: Mark Hudson