Nick Easter insisted Harlequins will emerge stronger from the 'Bloodgate' scandal that has caused such grievous damage to the club's reputation and dragged rugby's image through the mud.
The Harlequins name has rarely been out of the headlines this summer as a disciplinary panel heard director of rugby Dean Richards had been involved in five separate counts of faking blood injuries during his tenure at the Twickenham Stoop.
It was in last season's 6-5 Heineken Cup quarter-final defeat to Leinster that Quins were finally caught out, eventually leading to Richards resigning after four successful years at the club.
Richards was subsequently banned for three years, the winger Tom Williams ended up with a four-month suspension and Quins suffered a major blow to their finances with a £260,000 fine.
Easter admitted to being "shocked" when he heard of Richards' departure and he knows the club have a major challenge ahead to rebuild their sullied reputation.
But he believes Quins can do that on the field by once again proving themselves to be a force in both English and European rugby.
"Harlequins' reputation has taken a lot of damage but as far as the players are concerned our goals have not changed - we are aiming for a top-four finish in the Premiership and the quarter-finals of the Heineken Cup," said Easter.
"They were the same last year and we achieved them. We hope to go one better in both competitions this year.
"It's not an ideal start to the season when you lose your director of rugby and one of your players in banned for four months.
"One of the main attributes of the squad last year was the belief in each other and the strong feeling that we had for one another.
"That trust allowed us to get to where we were and achieve some good wins. The team spirit is probably stronger now after this situation.
"Sometimes in life things make you stronger, don't they?"