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Quins chief excited by glimpse of club's next generation
Harlequins fans got a fascinating glimpse of the old and the new on Saturday and it seemed appropriate it secured a first home win of the season at the Stoop.
Director of rugby Conor O'Shea's men dismantled Sale Sharks 24-3, with the help of tries from young back rowers Luke Wallace and England U20 flanker Jack Clifford.
The latter had come on as a 34th minute replacement for unfortunate number eight Tom Guest as Quins played for more than 40 minutes with a back row of Wallace, Clifford and Joe Trayfoot.
Wallace's first half score was a contender for try of the season as it had started deep in Quins territory and ended with the 23-year-old collecting Nick Evans' cross field kick to touch down in the corner.
Clifford's opportunist score in the second half capped a fine performance from O'Shea's injury ravaged squad and the significance of the win was not lost on the Stoop chief.
"The young players we have will gain massively from this. They are good players," he said.
"We have belief in them, in their ability and their learning curve will rise and that will be a huge benefit to us this season for seasons to come.
"We have five guys dual registered with Ealing this year and four of them played on Saturday. Their development has been accelerated.
"Jack is going to be around this club for a long, long time. That is the back row we thought we'd have out week in, week out in about three or four years time. I thought he was brilliant when he came on."
Quins' youngsters grabbed the headlines, but a blast from England's international past received a standing ovation as he left the pitch at the weekend after another influential performance on the eve of the autumn internationals, which start with the visit of Australia at Twickenham on Saturday.
Injuries have forced Nick Easter into the second row this term, but the 35-year-old got through a mountain of work as his side fought to secure some dominance up front.
"Nick is an outstanding bloke to have around this group of players. His drive to succeed is probably greater now than it has ever been," added O'Shea.
"He wants to go out and prove a point every week he plays.
"He is looking pretty good in the second row, but all five second rows will be back in a couple of weeks time and that will give us an opportunity to move him back."
Another to give a gentle reminder to the England selectors was Danny Care after he came off the bench on Saturday, having been discarded from Stuart Lancaster's squad to face the Wallabies earlier in the week.
"For Danny to get his head on and play like he did after getting sent back to us, I thought he was outstanding how he controlled the game," added O'Shea.
"People tell me he does not kick well, I hope they watched that for 30 minutes because he was absolutely magnificent."
Quins travel to Leicester Tigers this weekend.