Luke Wallace begrudgingly concedes that Harlequins’ top-four hopes are all but over, but despite that disappointment the flanker insists he and his teammates are not about to tear up the script and start again.
Quins currently sit ninth in the Aviva Premiership Rugby table and, after winning a trophy in every one of Conor O’Shea’s first three full seasons in charge, are now facing a second successive campaign with no silverware.
Indeed between now and the end of the season the Stoop outfit face a real battle just to grab a top-six finish that would grant them top-flight European rugby next season.
Last Friday’s defeat to defending champions Northampton Saints was fairly emblematic of their season as a whole as O’Shea’s troops enjoyed more territory and possession than their rivals but failed to make it count.
And with London Irish next up for Wallace and co, the flanker insists he and his teammates have to stop repeating the same sloppy mistakes that have punctured their season.
“It’s about being accurate, we coughed up the ball way too much against Northampton,” he said.
“If you do not look after the ball then you are going to get punished while our discipline was a bit off as well, those are the big work-ons for us.
“We have to cut those out, it’s small things and we are playing so well for so much of games but one error is enough. It doesn’t matter if we score within two phases or 22, the important thing is to score and we are not finishing off chances at the moment.
“The confidence is there that when we do things right we can win games, that is the goal for the rest of the season as we try and get into the top six or build momentum for next season.
“I don’t know if mathematically we are already out of the race for the top four but the top six still has to be our goal.
“A club like this has to be in the top European competition, it’s good for us to have something to aim for.”
Harlequins have finished in the top four and made the semi-finals for the last three years in a row but that run looks certain to come to an end in 2015.
Indeed the chasing pack have caught up with Quins this season, and arguably overtaken them with the likes of Exeter Chiefs and Bath Rugby well-placed for tilt at the top four.
But Wallace is adamant the problem lies not with his side’s open attacking game plan, but in their execution of the basics.
“The whole middle to bottom group of teams have really stepped up this season and you can see that by the spread, everything is so close,” added the flanker, who will make his 100th appearance for Quins this weekend – while the London club are also looking to set a new world record for most faces painted in four hours in aid of Comic Relief.
“A little slip up is a big deal and can cost you three or four spots in the table and then you are playing catch up.
“Throughout the season we have shown that when we get it right we can hurt teams.
“But until we start putting it out on the pitch on a consistent basis we cannot really judge where we are at and we have not managed to do that enough this season.
“This is the way we want to play as a team, we want to go out there and enjoy it and we will be sticking to this in the future.”
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