The last-gasp defeat to Bath Rugby last weekend ended Harlequins’ hopes of making the LV= Cup knockout stages.
But winger Charlie Walker insists he and his teammates still have a lot to play for – both as a team and as individuals before the return of Aviva Premiership Rugby.
Rory Jennings’ last-gasp penalty was a crushing blow for the Stoop faithful that had seen their side fight back from an early 10-0 deficit to lead going into the closing moments.
Walker crossed for a try in the encounter but has been a frustrated onlooker for much of Quins season so far.
With only four Aviva Premiership Rugby appearances to his name so far this season, the likes of Marland Yarde, Ugo Monye – fitness permitting – and new signing Aseli Tikoirotuma appear to be ahead of Walker in the winger pecking order.
But after his try last time out, and with an LV= Cup clash at Kingsholm against Gloucester Rugby this weekend as well, Walker is desperate to lay down a marker, as our most of his teammates.
“The boys are disappointed, we know we are out of the competition now,” he said.
“But we have the chance to go out and express ourselves at Kingsholm now.
“It’s a chance to have some fun, but also a chance for guys to prove a point. Any game that we play, regardless of the competition, we want to be competitive.
“Conor wants to see young guys showing that same competitiveness and then you can start putting your hand up to be selected in the first team.
“Certainly, every time you are given a chance you want to prove that you deserve that starting shirt.
“We will be without our internationals but apart from that we will have our strongest team out every week when the Premiership returns so guys like myself are looking to step up.
“This year it has been pretty tough. Not just for me but for all the wingers. I know Marland (Yarde) has been frustrated like we all have.
“Of course you want to be involved as players, so for me personally it has been quite frustrating. But now I have had a bit of a shot and it’s up to me to take that chance.”
Two weeks ago Quins’ European campaign came to an end as Wasps sneaked through to the Champions Cup following their last-gasp draw with Leinster.
But with Aviva Premiership Rugby set to return next week and Quins fighting hard for a play-off spot as they currently sit in seventh, only two points off fourth, now is the time to strike says Walker.
“In a way, we are disappointed we are out, and we are out of Europe as well,” he added.
“But we are always looking on the bright side and now we have a great chance to focus on the bright side.
“The rest of the Premiership is basically going to be treated like knockout rugby, we play our best in that cup environment, the big games.
“It’s a classic case of not looking too far ahead. We have to approach each game individually and then hopefully we can go on a run like we did last season.”
Tickets for this year's LV= Cup Final on 22 March at Franklin's Gardens are now on sale. Click here to snap one up from just £20 for adults, £10 for juniors to see who will win the first silverware of the season.