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Tom Tainton

Tom Tainton writes

Posted Tuesday, February 19th 2019

Harlequins press in brief: five things we learned

Head coach Pat Lam and centre Alapati Leiua faced the media ahead of Saturday's Gallagher Premiership clash with Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop - here's what we learned from this week's press session.


Bouncebackability

Pat Lam urged his team to respond to the disappointment of the home defeat versus Wasps.

“It’s always an honest assessment from the players and that’s the beauty of when you have a clear gameplan. When people do their jobs, it works, and if they don’t, we find out why and get back to work,” he said.

“It’s about reinforcing that the game works, but making sure we get our part done. We all make mistakes, but it’s how we get back on the horse and respond against Harlequins. This is the big challenge of coaching and it’s why we are in team sport – the closer we become as a team, then we will nail things and get the success we are striving for.”



Dangerous Quins

Alapati Leiua is wary of the threats posed by Saturday’s opposition and says that preparation is key to cause an upset at the Stoop.

“We spoke about how dangerous Harlequins are, they have threats all over the pitch and they’re well organised. We have to prepare well and give ourselves the best opportunity to challenge them this weekend,” he said.

“We know where we want to be and we will keep pushing for that. We’re excited about what we can achieve and it’s about responding to setbacks.

“We’re giving our best, week in and week out for the team to win. It’s a group effort and the focus is just to keep striving to get better and to respond to setbacks along the way.”


Locked in

Lam says that the search for a second row forward continues, but insists the club will only bring in the right individual to suit the gameplan.

He added: “There’s a lot of guys out there, but the question we have to ask is are they better than what we have? Scrummaging is only a part of it, the other side is playing our game and fitting into our system.

“It’s very easy to bring somebody in, but the challenge is bringing them up to speed. They have to be effective and add value to what we are trying to do. At this stage, there will be no addition before Saturday – we’re happy that we will be fine for cover this week."


Striving to improve

Leiua says that an ‘open and honest’ environment means the players and staff are aligned with what they want to achieve.

He said: “We were disappointed with the performance last weekend. We did some good things in the second half, but the start wasn’t good enough. We know we need to start really well, but errors left us chasing the game – we can’t afford that at this level.

“We’ve spoken about it as a group and looked at what we need to do to improve and be better. We’ve been back in working hard, as we do every week, the challenge now is to right that wrong of last week.

“We’re really enjoying the season, there is no dropped heads here. It’s a fantastic environment and the coaches are challenging the team and individuals to be better.”


Embracing the challenge

Lam believes his team will need to be at their best to claim a first away day victory of the Gallagher Premiership season at the Twickenham Stoop.

“There are five points available on Saturday and that’s the target for us every week. Quins were superb against Worcester, so we understand the challenge and we’re excited about putting things right after last weekend,” he said.

“We haven’t got a win away from home, but there have been some positive performances. We believe we can win and it’s about making sure everything comes together on the day. They’re a good side, third in the table and flying. Gustard has done a good job, so it’s a great challenge for us – these are the games you want to be involved in.”


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