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Nick Easter: Harlequins need to go back to old ways

Published 14/05/2016

Nick Easter could not hide his disappointment after Harlequins' European Challenge Cup final defeat
Nick Easter could not hide his disappointment after Harlequins' European Challenge Cup final defeat

Nick Easter wants Harlequins to rediscover their old ways after missing out on European Champions Cup qualification next season.

Quins rugby director Conor O'Shea's strong six-year reign - one that was highlighted by a Premiership title in 2012 - ended with a 26-19 European Challenge Cup final defeat against Montpellier at the Grand Stade de Lyon on Friday night.

And England international number eight Easter, who will combine playing with defence coaching duties at Quins next season, offered no excuses.

Quins fought their way back from 17 points down in the second half before falling short, but a frustrating night was underlined when substitute fly-half Ben Botica needlessly kicked possession away during the dying seconds and Montpellier gratefully booted the ball out as a prelude to referee John Lacey's final whistle.

"We are very disappointed, but you get what you deserve," Easter said.

"They were the better side. They schooled us at the breakdown and we couldn't adapt to it. Their maul was very strong, and in typical Quins fashion, we came back.

"I don't know what was happening with the kick right at the end, to be honest with you. That is just a brain freeze from one player. I'm not one to get carried away with the emotions, but we are really disappointed for Conor.

"We need to get back to what we were doing a few years ago.

"There needs to be a bit more accountability, I think, and a bit more understanding of key moments. There are always errors, but there are key moments when you have got to execute, and we didn't do that, especially in the second half."

A Quins victory would have meant Champions Cup qualification and seven English clubs participating in European rugby's top-flight competition next term.

But Quins will now once again find themselves in the Challenge Cup, with those six Champions Cup places being filled by Saracens, Exeter, Wasps, Leicester, Northampton and Sale Sharks.

"We can't say it was taken from us or Lady Luck played a part," Easter added. "They (Montpellier) deserved it. It is gutting to take, but you have got to use that hurt, remember it and drive it on.

"The first half of the season was really good. The Six Nations period hurt us, and then coming back we didn't quite gel and nail the games we needed to.

"We weren't good enough to be in the Champions Cup next season."

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