Former England skipper Chris Robshaw has urged Harlequins to avoid a bleak midwinter and use the disappointment of European elimination to stoke a charge for the Premiership’s top four.
Quins’ return to the Champions Cup – their first expedition into the continent’s premier club competition since 2014-15 – has been short-lived and back-to-back defeats to Ulster this month have ended hopes of progression to the last eight.
As the Premiership’s mid point approaches, the south-west Londoners currently sit seventh, six points adrift of Bath in fourth, after a campaign which has brought victories against three of the current top five.
Such heady results against Gloucester, Wasps and Saracens have not been replicated across the board, but Robshaw has not ruled out the potential for a Twickenham date for a Premiership final in May.
“Finishing in the top four is what we want to go out there and achieve,” Robshaw told City A.M.
“It’s not just going to happen, it’s going to be hard work from every single player and coach to get things moving forward but everyone in the organisation is working hard to try and achieve that.
“The season has been an extremely mixed bag and consistency has not been our friend. But we have done some good things as well. There have been times when we have got everything right and we’ve had great days out there
“It’s just about trying to improve that consistency and making sure we always produce the same level of performance.”
The first instalment in their bid to reach the league’s upper echelons sees Quins travel to the north east to face Newcastle on Saturday, before John Kingston’s outfit play Northampton at Twickenham in the Big Game a week later.
“It’s massive whenever you get to play at Twickenham and special too as you don’t get to do it that often in your club colours in front of that many people,” added Robshaw.
“We worked so hard to get to the Champions Cup but we’ve not stood up to the task. We’ve got three massive games in the Premiership now and a chance to push our way up the league.”
Robshaw has denied, however, there is any added incentive to finish as the capital’s top dogs following Saracens’s slump in form – Mark McCall’s side have suffered seven successive defeats in the club’s worst run of form for 14 years.
“It’s not really about who we finish above and below, it’s about being in that top four,” added Robshaw. “As a team, you try and look after yourself. You’re aiming to be the top team in the country. That’s everyone’s goal, to finish top of the pile.”