O'Shea: You cannot coach Quins character
1:25pm Monday 19th November 2012 in Sport
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea could not speak highly enough of his side's character as they withstood heavy second-half pressure to secure a 21-12 LV= Cup victory over Bath Rugby at the Stoop, writes Nate Saunders.
Ben Botica's 15-point haul in the first half and six points late in the game for 18-year-old Louis Grimoldby on his senior debut led Quins to the win - a firm defensive effort at the other end helping them over the line.
With Botica one of a host of Quins players to leave the field in the second half with injury it was down to the home side's young contingent to secure the win off the bench.
And O'Shea, who saw his team run in four tries to defeat Northampton Saints at the death in last week's LV= Cup opener, insists this victory was all the more special despite not seeing his side cross the whitewash.
"I said to the boys in the dressing room I actually couldn't be prouder of their effort because of how it finished off," he said.
"We kept our bottle there at the end and you can't coach bottle.
"We started really well and we probably didn't get the try we deserved in the second half, but Bath are a good strong side.
"They were always going to come at us and we started to soak as they grew in confidence, it didn't help that we lost a number of players to cuts and bruises as that half wore on.
"Grimoldby came off the bench - his first senior game - and kept his nerve to knock two over at the end there.
"They just hurled their bodies on the line and every time it worked, you can't ask for more than that in those situations.
"That to me shows more about the group of players than anything else; it's easy to score tries, it's easy to kick penalties, but this group over the last two weeks and particularly tonight have really excelled."
Bath were restricted to just three Stephen Donald penalties, before replacement Tom Heathcote added one of his own after the break.
It took the visitors a while to grow into the game, with all of Botica's five successful penalties conceded in the opening half hour, and they were unable to make anything of sustained second-half pressure with handling errors and ill-discipline costing them.
And head coach Gary Gold was left to lament his side's slow start, and insists Bath have to rectify their high penalty count if they are to gain revenge on Harlequins when they visit the Rec next week in the Aviva Premiership.
"You can complain about the referee all you want but the fact is we got on the wrong side of him far too often," Gold said.
"I think the penalty count was 22-6 at the end and that's just not acceptable if you want to win a game.
"We probably lacked that cutting edge, we worked some plays out wide and got a bit flat and allowed ourselves to be a bit sloppy against a very good defensive side and you can't do that."
The LV= Cup. Watch the next generation break through. For tickets and info, visit lv.com/rugby.