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O'Shea: Evans not to blame for loss

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea absolved Nick Evans of blame for the first defeat of their Aviva Premiership campaign after Northampton emerged 13-6 winners at Twickenham Stoop.

Evans missed four of his six attempts at goal, allowing 12 points to go begging in a rain-swept match that was ultimately decided by James Wilson's 63rd-minute try.

The former All Blacks fly-half took responsibility for the outcome in an interview screened during the match, but O'Shea offered his support.

"We move on and forget it, Nick wins so many games for this club. You get the bounce of the ball one day, you don't the next," O'Shea said.

"We brought Ben Botica on and he hit the posts. It's not a train smash.

"It's really disappointing because I thought we played some really good rugby in horrific conditions but didn't get the reward.

"I said to the boys even before the game, this doesn't define your season.

"If we play like that week in, week out we'll be fine, we just have to take our chances and we had enough.

"That happens and Northampton will be really pleased with the win, as they should be. We'll get ourselves ready for Worcester next week."

Northampton director of rugby Jim Mallinder viewed the victory as a "significant" to the Premiership title race, just two games into the season.

"To come away to somewhere like this and win is an outstanding result," he said.

"It was a horrible Friday night, Harlequins are quite rightly serious contenders for the Premiership. To come here and beat them is significant.

"I'm very pleased. It was always going to be tight and it was a question of getting your set piece right.

"Stephen Myler kicked well and then we got our try-scoring opportunity and took it."

Mallinder revealed that England lock Courtney Lawes suffered a shoulder injury, stating: "I hope it's not serious."


From Belfast Telegraph