Alex Dombrandt says that Harlequins’ doubters are a driving force behind their bid for a successful Gallagher Premiership title defence.
Quins sealed their place in the play-offs with a 28-24 victory over Gloucester at Twickenham on Saturday.
They are now likely to face an away semi-final clash against Saracens next month, with Mark McCall’s men chasing Premiership silverware for the sixth time.
Quins did it the hard way last season, wiping out a 28-0 deficit to beat play-off opponents Bristol after extra time, then defeating Exeter 40-38 courtesy of two late Louis Lynagh tries to land a first title since 2012.
“There is a massive desire to do it (win title again),” Quins and England back-row forward Dombrandt said.
“A lot of people said we couldn’t last year, and even though we proved we could, I still think there are a lot of people that don’t think we can do it again.
“They feel that we are lucky to be in the top four again. That spurs us on.
“We know we can do it. We know what we are capable of doing. It is about going back to the drawing board, keep looking to improve and giving it our best shot.”
Quins’ reputation as the Premiership’s comeback kings was underlined once again when they toppled Gloucester after trailing 24-7 at half-time.
Three tries and 21 unanswered second-half points confirmed a play-off spot, leaving Gloucester to contest the final place with Northampton when the Premiership’s regular season ends on June 4.
Dombrandt added: “We’ve been in that situation probably a few more times than we would like, having to come from behind.
“But we have got the experience of that, and we were pretty calm in the changing room at half-time.
“There were clear messages, and we managed to implement it in the second-half to claw it back.
“In the first-half, I think we looked like a team that hadn’t played in three weeks.
“We know we can score tries. and when we do score tries, we can build on that momentum. The message was to tighten up in defence and do what we do in attack.
“We’ve got a weekend off now, then Exeter, then the semi-final.
“If you want to win the league, you have got to beat the best teams. We will see who we get in the semi-final and give it our best crack.”
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