O’Shea upbeat despite agonising exit

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea says his side will benefit a great deal from their European exploits this season.

Quins thrashed Castres 47-19 in France but were cruelly denied a chance of a place in the European Champions Cup knockout stages by Wasps, who drew 20-20 with Leinster.

Wasps, who finished as Pool Two runners-up ahead of Quins thanks to a better head-to-head record, must wait to see if their points tally of 18 is good enough to secure progress.

And O’Shea said the defeat against Wasps in their penultimate group fixture last Saturday was the reason for their failure to reach the quarter-finals.

“We lacked accuracy last week, despite all the chances we had,” O’Shea said. “Not getting anything out of that game cost us, but Europe is all about learning and our young players have learned an unbelievable amount this season.

“We’ve gone out by inches, but that’s the European Cup. We’ll learn from it, but we’ll also use the hurt to drive us on for the remainder of the season.”

Early tries by Joe Marler and Charlie Walker put Quins in command and, despite a Castres fightback, scrum-half Danny Care crossed to make it 21-14 at the break.

A one-sided second period saw Quins romp to victory, with Jack Clifford, Mark Lambert and Marlon Yarde going over as the lead was stretched to 40-19.

George Lowe added a seventh try and Nick Evans slotted his sixth conversion to seal a comprehensive win, but the draw earned by Wasps meant the success was a hollow one.

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