Harlequins won their first ever Aviva Premiership title as they beat Leicester Tigers 30-23 at Twickenham on Saturday. It’s just three years after the scandal of ‘Bloodgate’, an incident that left their reputation is tatters but now seems a long way away.
After a frantic first half bathed in sunshine, Harlequins got the better of the closing stages as they held on to defeat a powerful Tigers side that had been in eight successive finals.
Captain Chris Robshaw scored a try, as did Tom Williams, the man at the center of the fake blood scandal. Dean Richards, who was coach at the time and received a three-year ban as a result, will have been watching on with pride as the team he helped build came good.
“Of course we have had our highs and lows it is nice to repay the fans who have stayed so loyal and so great to us,” said Man of the Match, Robshaw.
“We may have been underdogs in most people’s eyes but not to us. We were confident we could finish the job off in style – and that’s what we have done. All the boys deserve the credit. I just did my bit. It was a fantastic team effort with commitment and desire.”
Director of Rugby Conor O’Shea, who took over from Richards, said that this is just the start for Harlequins, and also praised those who put the structures in place to be able to lead the Premiership since round three, and go on to take the title.
“There was 10 years of ducking and diving to get the club to where it is and there is a long way to go. This can only be the start, that is all it is. Winning this is a massive tribute to a lot of people.
“The owners who have put so much of their time and money in. To Dean Richards who put so many of the structures in place at the club and to Mark Evans and Charles Jillings as well,” said O’Shea.
“I am very lucky, I drink a lot of coffee and I enjoy the job I do and the structure around the club.”
For Robshaw, this is the start of what he hopes will be a great summer leading his country.
“This is the perfect way for me and the other Quins lads involved in the England squad to fly off to South Africa. It just makes you want to carry on playing rugby and winning games.
“This has been our dream. It has been a long time coming. But it feels wonderful.”
Below are the official highlights from Premiership Rugby