Fixtures - Top Bar

Match preview: Harlequins v London Irish

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea wants his former club London Irish to stay in the Aviva Premiership Rugby but only after his side has knocked them out of the European Challenge Cup this weekend.

Harlequins take on London Irish at the Twickenham Stoop on Saturday in the quarter-final of the European competition and then again at the Madejski Stadium in Round 21.

O’Shea spent nearly a decade as a player, director of rugby and managing director at London Irish and said it’s still a club that means a lot to him.

“It’s a club that’s massively close to my heart, I gave almost ten years of my life to it,” he said.

“I love the place and I want to see them stay up but I also want to see them go out this weekend and then we have them at the Madejski and I want to win that as well but I really hope they survive.”

London Irish sit bottom of the Aviva Premiership Rugby, with a crucial clash against Newcastle next weekend, and were soundly beaten 38-7 at the Twickenham Stoop in December.

But O’Shea knows that without the weight of a relegation campaign on their shoulders, Irish will be extremely difficult opponents come Saturday.

“I see an animal coming that can relax and the pressure is almost completely off,” he said.

“Everyone is talking about the Newcastle game and nobody is talking about this game for them so we have to be incredibly professional.

“Silverware of any ilk is hard to come by; we are 240 minutes away and this is the first 80 minutes of that and it’s do or die.

“There’s no resting, anyone who is fit is going to be on this pitch. We will go as full strength as we can and we’ll try and win this thing.

“We are never shy in saying we want to win, that’s the expectation of this club, so we want to go out and start the 240 minute climb by winning the first 80.”

Looking to halt that climb is London Irish and skipper Luke Narraway wants his side to play with freedom on a week away from their Aviva Premiership Rugby survival fight.

“It’s been well documented with the league and where we are at the moment,” he said.

“Not a lot of people think we are going to do much in this game. It’s the perfect opportunity to come here with the pressure off and to really hone our skills and play a good Harlequins side but one that we think we can cause problems.

“The pressure is not on us, everything is on Harlequins. Everyone thinks they are going to win this game with ease.

“It’s probably a nice position for us to be in where there’s no pressure we can come, we can play rugby we can attempt things and have a really good crack at it.

“For us there’s not too much pressure it’s a chance to play some rugby without that dark cloud hanging over us.”

Watch England's finest at the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final at Twickenham on 28 May from only £30 for adults & £15 for children. Click here for tickets
 

Latest News

Match Reaction: Harlequins 18 Leicester Tigers 27

Assistant coach Geordan Murphy tipped his cap to a steely second-half showing from the Leicester Tigers replacements, who changed the…

England Under-20 secure impressive bonus-point win over Italy

England secured their third bonus-point win of the 2017 Six Nations with an eight-try 46-0 victory over Italy at the…

Match Report: Harlequins 18 Leicester Tigers 27

Leicester Tigers’ impressive second-half comeback saw them score 24 unanswered points and stun hosts Harlequins at Twickenham Stoop to claim…

Myler still dreaming of top four with Northampton Saints

He has been the cornerstone of Northampton’s back-line for more than a decade and fly-half Stephen Myler insists he will…

Stephen Myler

Joseph returns for derby clash against Bristol Rugby

Jonathan Joseph will return to the Bath Rugby starting line-up for the Aviva Premiership clash with West Country rivals Bristol…

Chiefs side to face Newcastle Falcons

Rob Baxter may be wary of the threat Newcastle Falcons pose to his Exeter side, but insists its challenges such…

Waldrom

Wasps team to play Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday

Director of Rugby Dai Young has named the Wasps’ side to take on Gloucester at the Ricoh Arena this Sunday,…

Le Roux Wasps

Sale Sharks Team News

Sale Sharks have named their side to take on Saracens in the Aviva Premiership on Saturday (kick off 2.45pm)  at…

Josh Charnley

Newcastle Falcons team to face Exeter Chiefs

Newcastle Falcons have made three changes ahead of Saturday’s Aviva Premiership trip to Exeter Chiefs (kick-off 3pm). Chris Harris replaces…

Evan Olmstead

Gloucester Rugby make two changes for Sunday’s trip to Wasps

Gloucester Rugby keep faith with the majority of the side that started against Saracens last weekend, making just two changes…

Lewis Ludlow

Bristol Rugby team to face Bath Rugby

Bristol Rugby play host to Bath Rugby in the much-anticipated West Country derby on Sunday (1pm KO). Mark Tainton’s men…

Gavin Henson

Saracens name team for Sale clash

Saracens have named their team to face Sale Sharks in Saturday’s round 16 Aviva Premiership clash at Allianz Park, kick-off…

Joel Conlon

Annett and Dowson return for Saints test

Niall Annett and Phil Dowson are among three changes to the Warriors starting line-up for their trip to Franklin’s Gardens…

Phil Dowson

Northampton Saints team news versus Worcester

The Northampton Saints team has been named for Saturday’s Aviva Premiership Round 16 home match against Worcester. The Saints head…

Michael Paterson

RFU Disciplinary: Francois Louw

An appeal against the sanction imposed on Francois Louw of Bath Rugby was heard by an RFU Disciplinary appeal panel…

AUDIO: Preview of this weekend’s Six Nations and Aviva Premiership action

It's the third round of matches in the Six Nations Championship this weekend, while action also continues in the Aviva…

Twickenham Stoop

England team to face Italy at Twickenham

Eddie Jones has named his side for England’s RBS 6 Nations game against Italy at Twickenham Stadium on Sunday (kick-off…

Saints eleven pen new deals

Northampton Saints has today announced new deals with 11 members of the current squad. Three of the more experienced players,…

Luther Burrell