London Irish 13 Harlequins 6

Boss Dean Richards refused to blame replacement ref Sean Davey for Harlequins' defeat at London Irish which could severely damage their Premiership play-off chances.

Davey replaced calf muscle-strain victim Chris White at half-time of Saturday's clash at the Madejski Stadium and got a number of crucial decisions wrong late on.

Adrian Jarvis's first-half penalty had kept Quins in front until eight minutes from time, and after Irish levelled with a penalty of their own, Davey awarded the home side a disputed kick with a minute left which put them in front for the first time.

Then, Davey - a former professional rugby player with Bedford - compounded his error by allowing Irish's winning try deep into stoppage time, despite a clear forward pass in the build-up.

Jarvis salvaged a bonus point when Exiles skipper Bob Casey was penalised from the restart, but Richards refused to round on the hapless official, despite him also denying his side a try-scoring chance.

He said: "There was the decision when Mike Ross went through and the ref said the ball was out, and there was the forward pass for the try, but you have to accept it.

"If the referee makes mistakes, he makes mistakes, and you move on. I've got no complaints about it.

"When you conceded as much first-phase ball as we did, which is the most we've conceded all season,then you stand very little chance of winning a game anyway.

"If we got our first phase sorted at critical times it would have enabled us to play in the right areas, but we lost it at critical times."

Quins take a breather this weekend before taking on Sake Sharks at the Twickenham Stoop in their penultimate game.

They then have what is lining up to be a season-defining trip to Leicester's Welford Road on the final day, which could make or break their play-off hopes.

But Richards reckons he saw enough during the Irish defeat to convince him his side will make the end-of-season shake-up.

He added: "There were some huge positives that came out of the game.Our defence was good, and at times our play was superb.

"But you can't play in the wrong areas of the field or without the ball, and that's what cost us."