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- Aviva Premiership
- 1st Mar 2014
- KO 15:00
- Ground: The Stoop
- Att: 12,100
Aviva Premiership: Quins boss Conor O'Shea praises Sam Smith for part in Worcester win
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea revealed rugby union's salary cap was the only reason Sam Smith was leaving for Worcester after the 23-year-old winger denied his future club their first Aviva Premiership win of the season.
Smith scored a try in the corner and set up another for debutant centre Harry Sloan as Quins hit back from 13-0 down to triumph 21-20.
"We're sorry to see him go, but the salary cap is the salary cap," said O'Shea, who has signed England prospect Marland Yarde from London Irish for next season.
"We thought Worcester were picking on him - they've signed him but they were kicking all the balls to him - but Smithy's just an outstanding pro.
"He's a try-scorer, always has been. He'll be a good acquisition for them," O'Shea said.
Harlequins went into the match with an entire team on the sidelines, their lengthy injury list compounding the absence of England Six Nations stars Chris Robshaw, Danny Care, Mike Brown and Joe Marler.
"We knew we would have to fight tooth and nail through this international period," O'Shea said. "It's an incredible injury list and it's tough.
"We have played four games in this window with so many players unavailable, and we've won three and got a bonus point.
"We have inadvertently blooded some outstanding young talent which should stand us in good stead for the future, with players like Kyle Sinckler and another 20-year-old Harry Sloan, who has been out injured this season."
Quins were trailing 13-0 until Ben Botica's opening penalty a minute before the interval, but O'Shea said: "We didn't go berserk at half-time.
"There was no point because it was so not us in the first half, but we got ourselves back in the game and I thought our second-half performance was pretty good, given the circumstances.
"We could have pulled away but we didn't and were left clinging on for dear life."
The one-point defeat was Worcester's 16th straight loss of the season but director of rugby Dean Ryan, disappointed by last week's 24-12 home defeat by Sale, said: "I'm just really proud of the guys.
"It's been a pretty raw week for us. I was hoping we could get the right response, and we did.
"We are struggling physically to cope with such a small group. You can see when we start rolling the bench that things get a little bit ragged, and we couldn't really stem the flow.
"We're still fighting like mad and still feel we can get something in the back pocket before we go to the north-east (to face second-bottom Newcastle).
"There isn't any lack of work-rate from this group. This club just has to make sure that remains central to everything it does and then it expands its squad. Then we can grow the club in the way that we play."
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Aviva Premiership Table
|Friday 5th September|
|19:45||Northampton vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 6th September|
|14:00||Sale vs Bath|
|14:00||Saracens vs Wasps|
|15:00||Leicester vs Newcastle|
|16:30||London Irish vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 7th September|
|14:00||London Welsh vs Exeter|
|Friday 12th September|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Saracens|
|Saturday 13th September|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Sale|
|15:00||Bath vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Exeter vs Leicester|
|Sunday 14th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Northampton|
|15:00||Newcastle vs London Irish|
|Friday 19th September|
|19:45||Gloucester vs Exeter|
|Saturday 20th September|
|14:00||Sale vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Saracens|
|15:15||Bath vs Leicester|
|Sunday 21st September|
|14:00||Newcastle vs Northampton|
|Friday 26th September|
|19:45||London Welsh vs Gloucester|
|Saturday 27th September|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Sale|
|15:15||Northampton vs Bath|
|Sunday 28th September|
|14:00||Wasps vs Newcastle|
|14:00||Exeter vs Harlequins|
|Friday 3rd October|
|19:45||Bath vs Saracens|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com