Harlequins skipper Chris Robshaw is resigned to leading his side in defending their Amlin Challenge Cup rather than chasing European rugby's ultimate prize, the Heineken Cup, after their 9-8 defeat to Connacht.
Connacht's first win in 15 games was the second shock of the night in Pool Six after Gloucester turned over four times champions Toulouse at Kingsholm to gift Quins the opportunity to become the first English qualifier for the last eight of the Heineken Cup.
But with only a single point to overcome, the English Premiership leaders couldn't find a way to wear down the home tacklers and silence the passionate Galway crowd.
"All last season we played to get into the Heineken Cup. We wanted to be in the Heineken Cup and we didn't want to just make up the numbers," admitted Robshaw.
"It looks as though we will be back in the Amlin after this and it is hard to put into words how we feel. We are going to have to console ourselves tonight. I don't even know if we can get through, but it doesn't look likely.
"We came here to try to get a win and we always knew it was going to blow a gale. Credit to Connacht's defence they defended with their hearts and they are a very passionate side. They probably worked harder in defence than we did in attack.
"To only be down by four points having played into the wind in the first half was ideal. We got some momentum going at the start of the second half but we couldn't finish it off.
"The conditions were the same for both sides and they played them better than us."
Quins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was fulsome in his praise for Connacht and his great friend and former Irish team match Eric Elwood.
"I can't begin to describe how disappointed we are as a group to let a lot of good work go to waste in this Heineken Cup. This is a night to be bitterly disappointed from a Harlequins perspective," admitted O'Shea.
"On any journey you have to learn tough lessons and this is as tough as it gets. But we will take it on the chin and show Connacht the respect they deserve. We had enough possession and opportunities, but weren't able to take them.
"We scored a cracking first try but couldn't get any more. The conditions leveled where the attacking play could come from and we knew it wasn't going to be a massive scoring game.
"But I won't take anything away from Connacht and full credit to them for showing the heart to win. We didn't create another chance after Nick Evans missed that kick that would have given us an 11-9 lead.
"That kick, followed by a penalty straight away after, put the energy back into everything that was going on the pitch. It was what I call the energy moment of the match - we were on top and they were gone, but they came back into the match and full credit to them
"We are out of the Heineken Cup now - we needed to win and we didn't. We'll probably be in the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals and by the time we get around to those games we will re-focus."
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