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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 May, 2004, 22:27 GMT 23:27 UK
Leonard lauds Quins
Jason Leonard retired as a winner of the Parker Pen Challenge Cup
Retiring Harlequins prop Jason Leonard paid tribute to team spirit as Quins pipped Montferrand 27-26 to win the Parker Pen Challenge Cup.

The 35-year-old England veteran went on as a substitute seven minutes from time in his last match for Quins after a 14-year, 219-match career.

He said: "There is a tremendous will for each other at this club.

"To a certain extent, spirits can overcome everything, and you saw that today in the closing minutes."

Harlequins were trailing as full-time approached, when Leonard was punched by Montferrand centre Raphael Chanal, who received his marching orders on 79 minutes.

The Londoners swiftly took advantage and sent substitute Simon Keogh over for the match-winning try with seconds to spare.

"A final is always special," said Leonard. "I have been at Harlequins for 14 years and they are very special people to me.

"When you win something it is nice for everyone involved, not just the players and management."

We were more than the equal of Harlequins but the game is played with 15 players
Alain Hyardet

Montferrand coach Alain Hyardet admitted it felt "terrible" losing in such fashion.

"We were more than the equal of Harlequins but the game is played with 15 players and it was crucial losing a player at the end," he said.

"When you play rugby, you can talk about passing, tackling and pushing as much as you want but discipline is a personal problem.

"And discipline is not only about foul play. We gave away points during the match and the sanction for us now is that we won't be in the Heineken Cup next season."

Montferrand skipper Tony Marsh said: "Today has been the image of our season. We spoke about discipline before the game, but once again it has let us down.

"English referees are a lot stricter. French referees will let players get away with a lot more, but it is a problem of individual discipline.

"Our mistakes also let us down, all the little things, and most of the points they scored came from our errors."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Harlequins' Jason Leonard
"It's always special to play your last game"


Quins boss Mark Evans
"We refuse to give in"



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