Oval Talk

Harlequins come full circle

Saturday afternoon at Twickenham witnessed the completion of a lengthy road to recovery for Harlequins, which delivered the club not only a well-earned first Premiership title but a true sense of deliverance.

In beating Leicester 30-23 in the Premiership final, Harlequins took the biggest step possible in lifting themselves above what was a watershed moment not just in the club's history but in the annals of the modern English game.

Nobody needs reminding of the details, ignominy and subsequent reaction to the infamous 'Bloodgate' incident which took place in April 2009 and sparked lasting ramifications for the club and they wider game.

The weekend's triumph was the perfect culmination of what had been a three-year pathway which led to reinstating the integrity of the club and that of some of the individuals originally involved.

Whether the Premiership signifies closure or not is a matter entirely for individual judgement, but what can be widely agreed upon is that the way in which Harlequins have gone about getting to their current situation has been highly admirable.

Structural changes within the club may have been prompted by what happened, but the appointment of Conor O'Shea as Director of Rugby was a masterstroke. Along with a stable coaching and playing staff, the club's rise has been methodical and well planned.

Harlequins deserve their moment of glory as well as the opportunity to enjoy it to the maximum.

Williams ends in fitting fashion

There could be no more fitting way for Shane Williams to end his Ospreys career than scoring the deciding try in Sunday's RaboDirect Pro 12 final, setting up a 31-30 win over European champions Leinster and signing off with a trophy.

It was a suitably dramatic ending for the diminutive winger, who has plied his trade with Ospreys since 2003, and it made for excellent viewing to see him make the kind of contribution that has studded a glittering career.

Like Oval Talk's subject from last week, Brian O'Driscoll, this is a man whom we have been privileged to see grace the game.