House of Payne: Harlequins have been knocked off their pedestal

Wandsworth Guardian: Legacy building: Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has signed a deal to stay at the Stoop until 2016                   SP79046 Legacy building: Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has signed a deal to stay at the Stoop until 2016 SP79046

Being honest, it’s difficult to describe Harlequins’ season so far as anything other than a disappointment.

Defeats to Scarlets and Clemont Auvergne have left their hopes of Heineken Cup progress hanging by a thread – even at this early stage.

While three Premiership losses have left the 2012 champions a long way off the pace set by Saracens and Northampton Saints.

Meanwhile, defeats to Sale and Exeter over the past two weekends have got Quins off to the worst possible start in their attempts to retain the LV= Cup.

So the fact this week was chosen to announce new contracts for the club’s senior management team may raise a few eyebrows.

Director of rugby Conor O’Shea, head coach John Kingston and skills coach Collin Osborne agreed deals to stay at the Stoop until 2016 amid talk of leaving a legacy.

Quins chief executive David Ellis this week welcomed the decision to secure the futures of the “coaching team that has delivered the most successful period in the professional history” of the club.

Wandsworth Guardian:

Glory days: Quins defence of the LV= Cup has started in the worst possible way

However, of the four trophies won over the past three seasons, without belittling the successes in the Amlin Cup, A League and LV= Cup, only that Premiership title really lays down the marker of Quins being a genuinely top side.

It is often said that it is harder to get to the top than to stay there and, since the memorable victory over Leicester at Twickenham 18 months ago, Quins have been fairly emphatically knocked off their pedestal.

That’s despite boasting a richly talented squad with a depth of young players that goes way beyond the current England captain Chris Robshaw, the star of the autumn internationals Mike Brown and the likes of Joe Marler, and Danny Care.

The timing of the new deals handed to O’Shea, Kingston and Osborne prove the club won’t let a few poor results get in the way of their strategy. And you can’t help feeling Quins will be better off in the long-term as a result.


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