Harlequins coach claims absent internationals are no excuse for recent defeats

Harlequins coach Tabai Matson believes losing players to international duty cannot excuse his side’s recent dip in form.

Whilst England fell to Guinness Six Nations defeat against Scotland at Murrayfield on Saturday, Harlequins were without a number of international stars.

The quartet of Marcus Smith, Joe Marler, Alex Dombrandt and Joe Marchant all featured for Eddie Jones’ side, and were therefore unable to prevent their club succumbing to a second straight loss.

Having been defeated by bottom-of-the-table Bath last weekend, the champions were overpowered by a Sale Sharks side featuring a returning Manu Tuilagi, alongside World Cup winner Faf de Klerk.

The pair combined off the bench to steer Sale to a 36-14 victory at The Stoop.

But Harlequins senior coach Tabai Matson refused to use those absences as an excuse for his team’s performance. 

He told BBC Radio London: “That can never be an excuse. There’s an opportunity for guys to step up to this level.

“It’s no excuse. They’re missing one of the best players in England themselves [England captain Tom Curry].”

Despite Matson’s assertions, there can be no doubt how heavily Quins rely on Smith and co. for their recent success. 

Throughout the season, Harlequins have struggled significantly in their absence, losing 22-19 to London Irish in November, while being twice beaten by Saracens.

Despite calling on Italian international Tommaso Allan to deputise at fly-half, the champions will surely be counting down the days until Smith and the others return, especially if performances like the one on Sunday continue.

Next up in the Gallagher Premiership, Quins travel to Saracens, hoping to avenge their previous defeats this season, before hosting Wasps at The Stoop the following Saturday. 

Feature Image Credit: creative “Legion Rugby la Praille Genève” by Photographe Autodidacte. is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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