Easter hails Quins' spirit
Nick Easter praised Harlequins' fighting spirit after their dramatic 19-18 victory over Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
Last Updated: 21/05/11 11:16am
Nick Easter praised the fighting spirit in the Harlequins squad after they came from behind to seal a dramatic 19-18 victory over Stade Francais in the Amlin Challenge Cup final.
Gonzalo Camacho's 76th-minute try was converted by nerveless fly-half Nick Evans to give Quins a stunning win over the French powerhouse in Cardiff.
The win saw Quins lift the trophy for the third time and also secure qualification for next season's Heineken Cup - making it seven Aviva Premiership sides who will be involved in the big European tournament.
Quins and England number eight Easter says the never-say-die attitude of his team made them able to come back and claim such a dramatic late win.
"It is credit to the guys' never-say-die attitude," said Easter. "It would have been very easy to get our heads down when they were playing very controlled pick and go, drop-goal sort of rugby, but we never gave in.
"In the second half, we didn't really play at all. We were very poor and they controlled the game.
"When we actually decided to hang on to the ball, rather than try silly offloads and put pressure on ourselves, we caused them problems and we took our only chance in the second half.
"We were nowhere near as good as we were against Munster in the semi-final, but we still dug in, and that is the kind of team spirit we've got here.
"This competition has been great this year, but with the group of guys we've got and how we want to move forward as a club, playing in the Heineken Cup is where the boys want to be."
Stade's head coach, former Leinster boss Michael Cheika, did not hold back afterwards and was furious with the officiating, especially at the end of the game.
"We deserved a lot better, I think," said Cheika. "Once again we came undone due to the shortcomings of, you know. I don't think I should say it because I will only get in trouble."
Stade were penalised at a late scrum as they tried to establish field position and rescue the game, but Cheika added: "That, unfortunately, was a joke (being penalised at the scrum). We pushed them off the ball.
"The areas where we dominated in the second half, the referee took our advantage away. It's a shame."