Harlequins have revealed in a searingly honest verdict on Paul Gustard’s time as Head of Rugby why they had to part company with the former England defence coach.

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Gustard took over from John Kingston in 2018 but has not been able to stamp his personality on a squad that has worryingly leaked tries – an area of the game that is normally his speciality.

Now, Quins are looking for a new direction with chief executive Laurie Dalrymple admitting on the club’s in-house channel that: “It has been a tough week no doubt about it. Even if you take the emotion out of it we are dealing with individual personalities and friendships that have been part of the club for many months and we are dealing with the fact we have parted company with someone who put in a big effort in the past couple of seasons.

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Mike Brown talks to RugbyPass on The Offload podcast:

“It is very difficult and I think it easy too often to look at these things quite superficially and weigh them up in terms of the merits of positivity and negativity in terms of success and achievement.

“The one thing I have learnt over my time working in sport is that certain individuals suit certain environments and we took the time to reflect on the way we have been playing and the way we want to live and operate and create an identity that is reflective of us as a club and took a decision that in due course we want to go in a different direction.

“Sometimes in that process you have to make difficult decisions and that is one of the decisions we arrived at this week. It is not easy and in many ways it shouldn’t reflect the contribution that Paul made to the club because he is an excellent coach.”

Despite making it clear that Gustard had not created the kind of club that Quins wanted, Dalrymple insisted the former Saracens coach could still have a successful career having opted out of England to take up the job at the Twickenham Stoop. “He is a great individual and fantastic to be around and I have got absolutely no doubt he will continue to flourish in future roles. Just because we decided to make a change doesn’t mean he isn’t going to succeed to the best of his ability somewhere else.”

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