'It's deja vu... The team is hurting' - Paul Gustard bemoans another Harlequins collapse
Directed by fly-half Marcus Smith, Quins led by 12 points in the final quarter only to see Ollie Hoskins cross late on his 100th appearance for the Exiles, offering Paddy Jackson a final-minute conversion to draw level.
The former Ireland fly-half was on target, although he nudged wide a stoppage-time penalty that would have seized an unlikely victory.
Irish also finished with a try-scoring bonus point, leaving Gustard to lick his wounds as Quins moved to four games without a win.
“I’m pretty disappointed. When you get to 27-15 with 15 minutes left you have to see that game through,” head of rugby Gustard said.
“It’s deja vu a little bit. We concede heavy late in games – we have tried different things but we make too many simple errors and are the architects of our own downfall.
“It’s the same thing happening week on week. The team is hurting and are upset though.
“We are wearing a bit of pain from time to time, but it is too much pain. We all need to improve.”
Harlequins begin preparations for Sunday’s Champions Cup clash with Racing 92 without knowing if the game will go ahead as French clubs decide whether to proceed with Europe following an invitation from their Government not to play cross-border competition due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Hopefully we will have clarity, but it’s a privilege to play and we are very thankful to be allowed to play and we will wait, roll up our sleeves and dig in,” Gustard said.
Irish’s last two games were cancelled because of coronavirus and although they showed signs of rustiness against their capital rivals, they were rewarded for fighting until the final whistle.
“It’s not something you just coach, it is whether it matters to them, and it certainly mattered to them to keep going at the end and get three points,” head coach Les Kiss said.
“Tough is one word for this period we’ve been through. It’s been frustrating. Everyone at every level is doing their best to get games played.
“Lads had to train on their own at home and when you reflect on this game, they deserve a lot of credit for making sure they stayed in great shape and ready for this challenge.
“It’s a nice reward to get three points out there and just a slight disappointment not to get four, but we also understand what we have been through over the last month. It was nice to see that attitude and commitment.”
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