Having given away a soft try, against the run of play, Shane Drahm took us back into the game, with two penalties - one from the half-way line - but we missed two kicks, which would have given us a 12-10 lead. We then gave a silly penalty away and Chris Horsman was yellow-carded, which put us under tremendous pressure. In the ninth minute of his sin-binning, Harlequins scored and put the game beyond our reach.
Where do we go from here?
As you know, I've been very supportive of not only the players but also the coaching team, and particularly John Brain and Anthony Eddy. John has a massive reputation as a forwards coach and is considered to be one of the best in the Premiership. With regards to Anthony Eddy, he has brought a lot of professionalism to the club and, in many areas, has taken us forward.
But, unfortunately, the style of playing he has been working on has not produced results, and we've certainly lacked penetration. Taking this into consideration - and having debated the problem extensively over the weekend - with my co-director Roger Murray, and in consultation with John Brain, I've decided that the following will be our plan to dig ourselves out of the hole:
1. Anthony Eddy will no longer be with the club.
2. Skills coach Billy McGinty will be the Backs Coach for the foreseeable future.
3. John Brain will continue to be Director of Rugby and Forwards Coach, assisted by myself on recruitment.
4. Phil Larder will take an increasing role with John Brain on defence.
We believe these changes will provide a good opportunity for us to recover the situation, and I'm hopeful our supporters will back the plan and get behind the team, both at home and away. After Sunday's Saracens game, we have three non-league matches, during which we can recover the form we've demonstrated in the past.
We did attempt to recruit a number of significant players in the summer, but we were unsuccessful for various reasons, which was disappointing. I will now assist John with this recruitment which, of course, is vital as we move forward. John will be identifying our needs and the talent that we require, and I'll then assist in trying to secure the contract.
There's no doubt that the situation can be recovered. In our first year in the Premiership, we won only three games in the first half of the season, but we won six games in the second half. Last year, we won six games in the first half and only three in the second half.
As we know, these games are often very tight - but it's possible and the players, I am confident, will respond. They are eager, hard-working and, I believe, capable.
Of course, we must regain our confidence. We also have to improve our discipline. Having one player on the bench makes life difficult and we have to create more opportunities to put the opposition under pressure.
The situation, of course, hasn't been helped by losing five of our internationals - Pat Sanderson, Chris Horsman, Tevita Taumoepeau, Aleki Lutui and Miguel Avramovic. To some extent, we anticipated losing Pat and Chris, but we did not expect to lose the other players, which has caused us major problems.
They will all be back with us after the Saracens game. The other good news is that Tony Windo will also be back. With changes to our style of play, and having the benefit of the players we have lost to the international scene, I'm confident the result will be very positive.
Monday, November 20, 2006