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London Irish 16:30 Harlequins

Heineken Cup: Harlequins still alive in Europe after thrilling win over Scarlets

Last Updated: 19/01/14 6:50pm

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Conor O'Shea felt Harlequins came out on top at the end of an "incredible game" against Scarlets, securing them a place in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals.

Ben Botica stepped up to knock over a penalty with two minutes remaining to clinch the Aviva Premiership side a 22-20 victory in a thrilling Heineken Cup clash.

"It is a delight to play against a team like the Scarlets, it really is. Both teams tried to play in a way that should be lauded."
Conor O'Shea

Despite the wet conditions the two Pool 4 rivals served up a treat at Parc y Scarlets, the lead changing hands on six occasions before Quins pinched it in the closing stages.

The result means Quins secure one of three Amlin spots for Heineken group runners-up; they will take on Stade Francais in the knockout stages.

"It was harem-scarem out there," director of rugby O'Shea said.

"It is a delight to play against a team like the Scarlets, it really is. Both teams tried to play in a way that should be lauded.

"I thought we controlled the last six minutes of the game brilliantly. I am baffled that we didn't get more penalties at different times, but I thought the referee, overall, did a really good job.

"Given the conditions, I thought it was an incredible game.

"I said to the guys that, mentally, to come back from the disappointment of last weekend when we had the opportunity to beat Clermont Auvergne, I don't think you should underestimate how much it took for the group to come down here and finish off.

"To finish as one of the best runners-up in such a tough pool is a real credit to the guys.

"I think there were loads of pools of death in the Heineken Cup this season. We've won two away games, and I am delighted that we are through.

"We are now going to play against Stade Francais away, and the juices will really flow for something like that.

"I think it has made a big difference to the Amlin tournament with (three) Heineken teams coming into it. Stade Francais versus Quins is a pretty good game."

European exit

Gareth Davies, Aaron Shingler and Scott Williams all crossed for the hosts, while Rhys Priestland kicked a penalty and a conversion.

Yet the Scarlets are now left to concentrate solely on domestic business, meaning none of the Welsh regions - themselves, Ospreys, Cardiff Blues and Newport Gwent Dragons - are still involved in Europe.

"We competed against a really good Quins team," Scarlets head coach Simon Easterby said.

"For large parts, we were better than them, but in the second half they kept coming back at us and we eventually gave away a bit of a soft penalty for them to get ahead.

"I was really pleased with lots of facets of our game, but ultimately we didn't quite manage the game as we would have liked.

"We've competed against every team for large periods, but we had a chance today, and we blew it.

"This European Cup has thrown up a huge amount of good games. It is disappointing that we did not take our opportunity and get into the Amlin quarters."

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