Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Robshaw: Coach Has Paid for Our Mistakes

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Robshaw: Coach Has Paid for Our Mistakes

Article excerpt

Byline: RUGBY UNION Will Macpherson

STARTING at Gloucester tomorrow, Harlequins have three games remaining this season and, looking only at the table, little to play for. They sit ninth, and will not be relegated but cannot make the top six, either.

That gives only half the story, though. It tells of an awful run of results with them losing six of their seven games this year, culminating in the dire defeat to cellar dwellers London Irish last Saturday, when Quins were booed from the field.

Chris Robshaw, who has been around the block and back, was emotional about the poverty of the performance, believing it one of his lowest moments in rugby.

"When you've lost to a fellow London team, who are bottom of the table, by a bonus-point, barely scored a try and are booed off your own pitch, it hurts," he said. "There is no denying it or beating around the bush. It is tough to look in the mirror."

So, Quins will not be slipping into cruise control or booking summer breaks. On Monday, it appeared John Kingston, the director of rugby, had paid for that result with his job. The decision that he would leave at season's end was, in fact, made as long as two weeks ago but the players were only informed of it at the start of this week.

As Robshaw revealed, the news hit the squad despite reports of mutinous rumblings hard.

Kingston has been at the club 17 years and has, therefore, known even veterans like Robshaw since they were teenagers. The director of rugby said the response to the news from players, including Marland Yarde, who acrimoniously left mid-season to join Sale, was "overwhelming, staggering and humbling".

He believes the fact he is staying for these last three games (the latter two are at Worcester, then at home to Exeter) shows the strength of the relationships he has with the players. "It is extremely sad for a man who is so passionate about the club, so enthusiastic and supports the guys so well," said Robshaw. "I think it is unfair for everything to be point at him this season. As players, me included, we have not been good enough. From the top guy to the bottom guy, as a unit we have not produced and, unfortunately, him being the top man, he has taken the stick for that. …

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