How Harlequins think history will treat their Paul Gustard era
It’s quite the intriguing question to ask Harlequins chief executive Laurie Dalrymple: how will history now treat the two-and-a-half-year reign of Paul Gustard at the London club after they went on to win the Gallagher Premiership title five months after the head of rugby suddenly left the club?
Harlequins were enduring a winter of discontent at the time of the sudden Gustard departure in January. However, while the collaborative effort of the assistant coaches and general manager Billy Millard was immense in turning around results and leading them to the top-flight winner’s enclosure at Twickenham last month, it remains curious how much credit Gustard deserves given that they essentially won the league with the squad that he had assembled.
“I don’t know,” said Dalrymple on Tuesday when asked by RugbyPass about how history will record the chapter of Gustard being in charge for the opening months of a campaign that ended in glorious fashion versus Exeter in June. “That is not for us to maybe comment on or worry too much about.
“Paul obviously was here for two-and-a-half years. No one is dismissing some of the building blocks that he put in place prior to this season but equally, sport is an ever-evolving situation and ultimately we will always put the club first in terms of what we think are the best decisions that we have to make for the people within the club and for the club.
“And equally, I don’t want this conversation to dwell on him too much, it’s more about the achievements of the guys in the group now and the players who have worked extremely hard and the coaches that have contributed so much to get us to where we are going to be.
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“He [Gustard] is off now on his next venture and his next chapter and we wish him a huge amount of luck in terms of where here is gone now [Benetton] but I’d be more interested in looking at the focus on the guys that have done it and not the guys that have left.
“It’s frankly been a huge club team effort from everyone, from playing, S&C, our medical guys, everyone has had the ability to contribute now in a really collective way so to answer your question, history should focus on the guys who are here and have achieved it and not necessarily on a particular individual that has left.”
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