Harlequins season got off to a rocky start as they only narrowly beat Wasps (26-21) and then lost to Leicester Tigers (22-19). They struggled to gain a convincing win over their next few matches, narrowly defeating Bath Rugby and Sale sharks, relying heavily on penalties to carry them through rather than scoring a plethora of tries. This trend continued until their loss against Exeter Chiefs where they were able to score four tries and gained two bonus points in defeat.
Their season improved over the next few weeks as they gained a record five try win over local rival London Irish (38-7), a (39-39) draw to Gloucester rugby and a win against Worcester Warriors (20-24). Arguably their game of the season came against Saracens in round 9. Where they were able to sneak a hard fought last minute victory thanks to a try from James Horwill in the dying minutes of the game resulting in a 29-23 triumph.
Unforced errors and a general dip in performance led to a three game loosing streak against Newcastle Falcons (26-19), Northampton Saints (23-27) and Gloucester Rugby (28-6). They were able to edge out Leicester Tigers (25-19), but were then thrashed by a vastly improved Wasps team (42-10). They were again able to pick up a losing bonus point against Sale Sharks just losing (29-23).
This mid season lull could be due to the absence of many key players whom were required for six nations duty, such as: Chris Robshaw, Mike Brown, Jamie Roberts and Danny Care to name but a few. They were, nevertheless, able to beat Bath for a second time, managing to fend off a late Bath comeback to finish the game (35-28). However, they were unable to keep up this good form and lost four out of their last six games.
Problems with consistency have plagued them throughout the season. In some games Harlequins showed moments of brilliance proving that they are a world class team, but they were unable to keep up their good form for any extended period of time. Due to the sheer number of unforced errors in some games you would be forgiven for questioning their ability and their sanity. As a result of their inconsistency they were unable to keep themselves in the top four as they were felled by Saracens (22-12). Despite a bonus point win against London Irish (25-32), their final match massacre delivered to them by Exeter Chiefs (24-62) resulted in them falling to seventh position. Finishing that low down in the table means that Quins will miss out on automatically qualifying for next seasons European Challenge Cup.
By Oscar Appleby.