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'The victory keeps us in the hunt but it doesn't get any easier for us'

By PA
London Irish v Harlequins – Gallagher Premiership Rugby – Brentford Community Stadium

Tabai Matson has warned Harlequins not to relax in their pursuit of a Gallagher Premiership play-off place after a 41-14 win at London Irish put them clear of the chasing pack.

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The defending champions scored seven tries, including two for Jack Walker and Huw Jones, and are just two wins away from securing their place in the top four.

Quins are third in the table but Matson is wary of upcoming games against league leaders Leicester and perennial contenders Exeter.

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“The victory keeps us in the hunt but it doesn’t get any easier for us with Leicester, Gloucester, Northampton and Exeter in our last four games,” he said.

“But being in the top four is the marker in the ground and we are in the box seat.

“We’re clearly so happy with the five-point win here because we put all our eggs into this basket and we weren’t thinking any further than London Irish at Brentford. We’re so happy with that result.

“It was a tough encounter early. Probably one thing we’re really proud of is containing their scoreline. They’ve scored a lot of tries and are one of the best defensive teams in the competition.

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“One of the things I love about London Irish is that they are one of the best teams in the league at the breakdown and on the back of that they score a stack load of points. So this week we’ve really focused on that and guys like Hugh (Tizard) have done a lot of the unsung work today.”

London Irish took the lead through a Paddy Jackson try but Harlequins fought back, with Cadan Murley, Danny Care and Andre Esterhuizen also crossing for scores.

Irish gained a late consolation through Benhard van Rensburg but it was of little comfort to director of rugby Declan Kidney, who saw his team’s hopes of a top-four finish end.

He said: “There’s frustration, but also the knowledge that we are creating the chances. Today was just one of those days where we didn’t convert them into points.

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“We won’t be a side that will make excuses. We’ll congratulate Harlequins on their win and they took 80 to 90 per cent of the chances that came their way, and we took 10 or 20 per cent that came our way. And in a game like this, it’ll give you a scoreline like it was.

“I thought our endeavour and application through it was very good. There were obviously some errors that we made in small aspects of play and in a game like this, that is going to cost you.”

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