With just one win from their opening four Premiership starts, Harlequins opened their European campaign with a 53-21 humbling at the hands of French superpower Clermont. The two sides met last year in the Challenge Cup semi-final, with Clermont prevailing 32-27.
As Harlequins dropped to their third consecutive loss this season, Director of Rugby Paul Gustard vowed to ‘get things right’ as their season drifts towards the precipice.
“We have to look at how we can rejuvenate the team, how we can maybe affect it through selection, how we train, how we look after the players, how we recover and the environment we create,” he said following the match.
“I’ve never been in this position before as a coach and it’s hurting, but I’ll get it right.
His confidence wasn’t backed up by fans however, who were ’embarrassed’ at another ‘soft loss’ in a ‘gutless performance’.
Might be time to call time on Mr Gustard! It's not been working for several seasons now – too many soft losses and no real ideas on how go turn the Team into contenders. Just saying!
— Nick Gilroy (@ngilroy_nick) November 17, 2019
Something very wrong at @Harlequins completely gutless performance ?
— Jason Shepherd (@Jay_Shep) November 16, 2019
@Harlequins I'd like Gus to tell us what the positives hes going to take from this then. I want to hear the truth – we are not good enough in any sense of the word. Let's have an apology to the fans
— phil michel (@fistral_beach) November 16, 2019
Not showing it on the pitch. Surely Gustard has to go. Been awful as a coach and Quins are now an embarrassment
— Jasper Welch (@JasWelch) November 16, 2019
Gustard has to walk
— Dom (@DomEvans1) November 16, 2019
I echo David’s comments. A big investment by a lot of Quins fans to come and support the team. The very least we expect to see is 100% effort and commitment from the entire 23 squad. We simply did not get that tonight and PG’s quote that “it hurts” is not good enough either.
— Tony Edwards (@tonyedwards37) November 16, 2019
A long long trip to watch such a woeful performance. And worst thing , I knew what was coming : lost line outs, dropped passes, scrum penalties, aimless kicking, out-muscled defence …. something serious needs to change @Harlequins soon to rescue our season.
— David Taylor (@quins4ever) November 16, 2019
Very poor performance, no scrum, no line out, too many pens & very generous defence. Embarrassed ?
— Chris Liddington (@chrisliddington) November 16, 2019
Gustard is a joker!!
Harlequins are 0-3 without Alex Codling , Gustard chased him away .
Last season Alex Codling left in February because of Gustard and they lost 5 in a row . Harlequins directors made him see out his first season deal
— eddie bravo (@eddiebr12903916) November 16, 2019
Fans on social media questioned the effort and commitment of the side, claiming that serious change is required to save the season. With patience running thin, many called for the resignation of head coach Gustard.
Gustard took over Harlequins in 2018 and after a slow start took the side to the brink of the Premiership playoffs, with the side placing 5th and just missing out after a last-minute penalty in the final round denied a playoff-birth.
The result was their best since the 2013/14 season while turning around a leaky defence that gave up the third most tries in 2017/18 to the fourth-least while the side managed a semi-final performance in the Challenge Cup.
Eddie Jones’ interview with the Barbarians:
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