Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea hailed his side’s fightback after they were forced to dig deep to claim a priceless win against neighbours Wasps.
Ben Botica, who was deputising for the injured Nick Evans, scored 13 points with the boot for Harlequins, with England skipper Chris Robshaw and a penalty try, plus a Danny Care drop goal proving the difference for Quins in a 26-23 win.
Last week it was very different indeed as they were mauled 39-0 by Saracens at home but after the break it was a very different Harlequins side that produced the goods against Wasps.
“It would be almost robotic not to have attention and nervousness attached to a reaction from last week,” he said.
“I thought we were the dominant team for 60-65 minutes. Was it perfect – far from it, would I have expected it to be today – no.
“Today was about people fronting up, showing what it meant to them. I thought we had a rabid intensity at the start of that second half, which was pretty all-consuming.
“I am very proud of the reaction that the boys showed – it’s just the start. This guy came up to me this morning and said: “It’s been a tough season for you, hasn’t it?” and I looked at him and said: “We’re two games into it!
“We got the reaction – was it tight and nervous, would you expect anything less? Will we play miles better – yes – that was a brilliant reaction.”
Tom Varndell and Guy Thomspon scored tries for Wasps, while Andy Goode scored eight points with the boot but it was an uncharacteristic night from the veteran fly-half, who was wasteful off the tee.
A key moment in the game was the yellow card Kearnan Myall received for a trip that led to the awarding of a penalty try and Wasps boss Dai Young admitted his frustration at the second-half capitulation.
“We had a crazy ten minutes just after half-time which was hugely disappointing, because the most we should have conceded there was probably six points,” he said.
“Two penalties and a couple of individual errors meant we came away with a 14-point swing which in the end was a bit of a mountain too big for us to climb.
“I don’t feel we ever hit the levels that we hit last week right through the game.
“We were probably about 60 per cent where we were last week. I thought we looked tired, little bit messy and nowhere near as efficient as last week.
“Having said that, we pushed them close but the frustrating point for us is that we talked all week about maintaining the standard and backing up last week’s performance with a very similar performance.
“Although I felt Quins did enough to win, I don’t think that we really pushed them like we wanted to.
“The days have gone where we are going to be tapping ourselves on the back for narrow losses.
“We want to be winning these games, so we have to man up basically and understand that, week-on-week, those performances have to be top draw to get the results.
“I still don’t think we are a good enough team to win many games playing at 60 per cent of our ability, and today I felt that we were probably 60-65 per cent.”
Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Sloane, Turner-Hall, Tikoirotuma; Botica, Care; Marler (Lambert 65), Ward, Sinckler (Collier 57), Matthews, Robson (Merrick 72), Wallace, Robshaw, Easter
Replacements not used: Buchanan, Clifford, Dickson, Grimoldby, Lindsay-Hague
Wasps: Masi (Miller 68); Wade, Daly, Bell (Leiua 57), Varndell; Goode, Simpson; Mullan (Yapp 65), Lindsay (Johnson 59), Cittadini (Cooper-Woolley 56), Launchbury, Myall (Gaskell 60), Haskell, Thompson (Davies 72), Hughes (Young 56)
Replacements not used: none
Tries: Robshaw, Penalty
Conversions: Botica 2
Penalties: Botica 3
Drop Goals: Care
Tries: Varndell, Thompson, Young
Referee: JP Doyle
Report via Sportsbeat