Overall, it was a decent enough performance, culminating in a maximum-point 26-10 victory but, in the end, it wasn't quite enough to see us through to the quarterfinals. It was probably a bit much to expect Montpellier to beat Bath or Petrarca to turn Newcastle over as we would've liked, but it was Brive's win over Montauban that proved to be the deciding factor in ending our interest.
There is no-one else to blame for our exit from the competition than ourselves; it was a lesson learned. Those two games that we should have won against Bath back in December stung us; indeed, just one win out of the two would have seen us through.
With results from other matches out of our hands, all we could do on Saturday was to concentrate on our own game and ensure we played our part by scoring four tries to secure a bonus point win.
We played really well in the first half and fully deserved our 19-3 lead at half-time. However, we then fell asleep for the first part of the second half, only to find our feet again at the end and finish strongly with Chris Hala'Ufia securing us a bonus point with a late try.
We are, though, in a habit at the moment of gifting tries to the opposition and that is something we have to look at ahead of what I consider to be a very, very important Guinness Premiership game away at Bath this Saturday (27th January). This is nothing about European Challenge Cup revenge as far as we are concerned; this is a quest for crucial league points at a critical stage of the season, just ahead of the two-week Six Nations break.
The good news is that we hope to have Andrew Mehrtens fit for the Bath game, while Ceri Jones also comes back into contention.
The other big news over the last week surrounds the French league teams vowing to pull out of the Heineken Cup next season.
Yes, it's true that we are playing one too many competitions at the moment, but to lose the European Cup would be a crying shame. At the same time, to lose the French clubs would be a minor disaster as victory without them would be a hollow one.
The situation is a bit of a mess and what is required now is for the clubs and the RFU to sit down together and figure out a way to best structure the rugby season to the satisfaction of all. This will require a bit of give and take from both sides but failure to resolve the matter could have disastrous consequences.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.