FURIOUS Harlequins boss Conor O’Shea last night warned his players that their season is already at risk of collapse after they became only the second team to lose at Exeter Chiefs in the Premiership in 2014.
Quins slipped to ninth in the table with four games gone as tries from Thomas Waldrom, Jack Yeandle and Henry Slade earned the Chiefs a 36-13 win – their first at home in the top-flight since March.
Fiji winger Asaeli Tikoirotuma’s converted try early in the second half had given the visitors brief hope of a comeback, but instead Quins slipped to their second defeat of the campaign.
“I am pretty emotional and furious because you just cannot play the game when you cough up the ball as easily and make as many basic errors as we did,” said director of rugby O’Shea.
“We have to rectify it and you’ll see the character of people. It is just not good enough and the season could slip away from us very quickly if we don’t act quickly. You write your own script and you have to bounce back – that is what sport is about.”
Exeter now sit fourth as they prepare for next week’s trip to Newcastle Falcons, who suffered their 20th consecutive Premiership defeat in yesterday’s other match, against London Wasps.
Tom Varndell ran in two tries while James Gaskell and Rob Miller also touched down as Wasps claimed a bonus-point 35-18 win, though boss Dai Young was not content with a display that lifted them to fifth.
“I didn’t think we were inspiring, as parts of our game were messy,” he said. “We were looking shaky at times and, if you give the opposition five or six opportunities close to our line, they’re going to score.”
Saracens sit two points clear at the top of the Premiership after their 40-19 defeat of Sale on Saturday, while Northampton lie second after the champions ended Bath’s perfect start to the season with a 31-24 victory.
London Irish, surprise 22-19 winners at Leicester, climbed to sixth in the table while London Welsh, who lost to Gloucester on Friday night, remain rooted to the bottom.