Paul Gustard feels his side are not far from the levels set by Exeter and Saracens at the top of the Gallagher Premiership.

Despite the Quins Head of Rugby seeing his men fall to 17-15 defeat at Sandy Park on Saturday, he feels that under his stewardship the quartered colours have come a long way.

Quins slipped out of the top four after the defeat as they sit fifth, level on points with Northampton in fourth with two games remaining.

"For me, this team lost 50-15 I think to this team last season and we are now coming down to their home and losing 17-15.

"So if they are the best team in the country by a yard - which they are - we are not far behind,” said Gustard.

Quick Start

Exeter started the tie brightly with tries from Ollie Devoto and Nic White in the opening 11 minutes, with another early in the second half from prop Harry Williams.

Quins however dominated possession and were rewarded with two quick tries themselves from Sam Hidalgo-Clyne and Charlie Walker, one converted by fly-half Marcus Smith who also landed a first-half penalty.

Smith had a chance to win the tie at the death but saw his 35-yard effort edge wide in the blustery conditions.

"We came with a game-plan to win but the first 10 minutes didn't go our way.

“After that, we were the dominant team.

"We controlled the end of the second half and wanted to get seven points to get into the game.

“We elected to kick into the game at the end to win it and we didn't.

Quins face Leicester on Friday before finishing the season at Wasps, while Northampton take on Worcester and then they travel to Exeter themselves.