8:00am Thursday 28th November 2013
By Ed Mezzetti
OXFORD Harlequins forwards coach Jamie Cope says the secret to his side’s table-topping form is simple.
Quins lead South West 1 East by 11 points having won all 11 matches.
Cope has been amused by suggestions from league rivals that Quins are something of a semi-professional super team.
But he stressed: “The reason why we are 11 from 11 is the commitment these guys have.
“Our training is full on.
“It is not by luck that we are on top of the league.
“The guys work hard and being successful means that we work even harder.”
Cope (pictured) added that the players have reacted well to the incentive of a man-of-the-match voting system.
Different supporters are asked to nominate their top three players from each match, with points being awarded on a three-two-one basis.
Flanker Ben Selby tops the standing so far.
“It seems such a small thing, but every Tuesday night at training, they can’t wait for me to pin up the standings,” said Cope.
Quins were pushed all the way by visitors Grove in Saturday’s 21-17 victory, which Cope found tough watching.
He said: “I didn’t feel that we would lose, but it was not the prettiest game we have played.
“That was by far our worst performance of the season.
“It is tough being at the top and maintaining it every week.
“We were a bit short on personnel, but that was not an excuse.
“Winning ugly is still winning.
“The guys were massively disappointed in their performance and know they can play better.”
Quins need to win all 15 of their remaining matches to achieve the 100 per cent league season they have set as a target.
“We never said to the players we wanted that,” said Cope, who praised the impact of new captain Luke Brown.
“That’s a goal they have set themselves. The goal we set as coaches was to get promotion.”
Cope, like head of rugby Steve Chadbone, was a long-serving Quins player and said passion for the club drives them on.
“We don’t claim to be the best at doing it, but this club really matters to us,” he said.
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