For England captain, Chris Robshaw, it was a 200th appearance for the club. For Conor O’Shea, it was a chance to meet up with old friends and put one over on the home province for whom he played all those years ago.
Which he did.
The win for Quins, who have stuttered their way through the opening months of the domestic campaign, leaves them three from three halfway through the European pool stages and yet O’Shea was quick to rein in any rampant giddiness.
“We don’t have the advantage at all,” he protested. “And Wasps are back in it (after beating Castres).”
Still, he’s looking forward to round two in the Aviva next Saturday, and to dinner with his parents in Dublin the night before. By then, he should know if his first-choice out-half, Nick Evans, is fit to feature after injuring his groin yesterday.
If O’Shea refused to get carried away then Matt O’Connor wasn’t exactly consumed by dark thoughts, although the Australian was up front in listing the areas in which his side had fallen short.
“I thought the discipline wasn’t too bad, apart from set-piece which you can’t legislate for. That is the interpretation of the referee. I thought our general discipline wasn’t too bad. We were pretty accurate defensively. We didn’t give them too many opportunities.
“The (Nick) Easter try and the intercept were probably the only times they looked like they were going to put a hole in us so, from that end, it was pretty pleasing. The forwards worked incredibly hard, but we have got some improvement next week.”
The net result is a constricting of their wiggle room.
Leinster’s record at the Aviva, where they face ‘Quins next weekend, isn’t great in the last few years, although Jamie Heaslip begged to differ with the view that they had backed themselves into a corner.
“No, I don’t think we’ve backed ourselves into any corner. We’ve been in this position before. We got a losing bonus point. That’s not too bad in this competition and, obviously, it’s a big game. We’re going to have a hell of a challenge now. They’re going to be fired up. Their tails are going to be up coming into this game and we gotta learn from those mistakes, flip it around and go again essentially.”
Poor execution was the chief culprit as far as O’Connor and Heaslip were concerned, but putting a finger on why that should have been the case – when they demolished Northampton in this same fixture 12 months ago — wasn’t so straightforward.
“I wish I knew,” said Heaslip. “You rewind to this time last year, for example, and we were on the money for everything. And then sometimes lads are so, not excited or giddy, but so want to enforce themselves on the game that sometimes they force it too much. I thought, in general, at times we held on to the ball very well and caused a lot of problems and got a lot of return. But we forced a lot of penalties inside their half, I thought. Our maul went quite well and we caused them problems when we got shape.
“Our D in general was pretty good. I didn’t feel a whole lot of heat, although it could be a lot better. I thought we soaked a lot at times as well so we have got to change that mindset. It’s frustrating not winning. We’ll take the bonus point, though.”
The good news is that It appears to be nothing more than cramp which forced Gordon D’Arcy off in the second-half, while flanker Dominic Ryan and wing Dave Kearney may be fit to return to the reckoning for the Aviva.