Emosi Ratuvecanaua lay strewn on the ground, motionless as his ecstatic teammates jumped and danced around him after his 80th minute try had clinched the quintuple.
The exhausted Fijian could only lie prone as physio Patrick Milton tended to him after he had given what little energy he had left into a brilliant 30m burst find his way to the line to settle the match.
His second try of the game killed off a spirited Dragons effort in the UAE Premiership final, with a 30-20 victory at Dubai Sports City confirming Quins as champions of five trophies this season.
Ratuvecanaua had given every last drop of effort he had left this season to secure the quintuple, something head coach Mike McFarlane said symbolised why his players have reached such unprecedented levels of success in 2016/17.
“It’s a long old season and they’ve put in the work and been relentless since June,” said McFarlane after the final whistle.
“I said to them in the changing rooms before the game ‘you’ve got yourselves here today’. They’ve been guided but they’ve put in the work. They’ve all got jobs, families, but they’re hitting the extra training sessions, getting the strength and conditioning results.
“What we’ve set up for them, they’ve taken to the next level by having such enormous expectations of themselves and today crowns all that incredible hard work and the five out of five. It’s an outstanding achievement, I can’t ask for anything more.”
On the final day of the domestic rugby season, Quins were given arguably one of their sternest tests. Dragons had lost all three previous encounters to their famous old foes this season. It was if that pent-up frustration manifested itself into one final 80 minutes of rugby.
Henry Paul’s side came in as underdogs, had nothing to lose and threw absolutely everything they had at Quins for one final time this season.
“You’re never going to get an easy game against Dragons. They’re a well drilled team that carry an attacking threat,” said McFarlane of a team Quins had beat 47-7 to win the West Asia Premiership at the end of February – this result an anomaly for clashes between the sides this term.
Things could have been very different had Dan Bell potted a tough-looking penalty from about 40 metres out and near to the touchline with three minutes remaining and Quins leading 23-20.
It went just wide and Ratuvecanaua then sealed the win.
McFarlane added: “We dealt with it and I thought we were really excellent today. At the breakdown I thought we were exceptional. I thought we deserved it, perhaps by a bigger margin, and that’s not anything against them, I just thought we were outstanding.
“I’m really chuffed for the boys. It’s an incredible achievement (to win five trophies), never been done before and we’ve really taken rugby to the next level.”
After winning everything on offer this season, it’s difficult to see how this season can be toppled. Knowing perfectionist McFarlane, he will find a way. Although he wants his players to enjoy the break between now and pre-season.
“Despite an incredible achievement, this won’t be the end for us and we want to be going to greater heights next year. It’s the Quins way. We’re looking for the next step, what is it, how can we achieve it,” he said.
“But there will be time off now for the boys to enjoy some rest and recovery and more importantly some family time.”