Fixtures - Top Bar

O’Shea’s Harlequins in it for the long haul

Harlequins head into the New Year in the Aviva Premiership Rugby top four and director of rugby Conor O’Shea believes temperament will decide whether or not they stay there.

Last season Quins were in touch with the play-off spots at the turn of the year, only to fall away in the second half of the campaign and finish well outside the top half.

O’Shea addressed that disappointment with a host of summer signings – Tim Visser, Adam Jones, Jamie Roberts and James Horwill among the arrivals.

So far, so good as Harlequins sit six points clear of fifth-place Northampton Saints after seven rounds, with a 38-28 win at Bath Rugby in late October among the early-season highlights.

The late start to the season – delayed by the Rugby World Cup – will ensure squads across the competition are tested in the New Year and O’Shea is hoping to see his crop rise to the challenge.

“We are excited and we are very ambitious this year,” he said. “There is such a long way to go but it is nice to have a few points on the board.

“As a squad we have got a few knocks and bruises, nothing long-term. It will be survival of the fittest and we know this is a very important mini block of the league.

“There is a really good buzz around the place. Everyone always says it’s going to be the hardest Premiership it has ever been but I think this year, partly because of the schedule, it is going to be brutal.

“You have to be prepared to understand that things are going to go wrong for you and it is going to be the teams that don’t over react and keep their cool who come out on top.”

The gap to Northampton could have been even bigger, were Harlequins not held to a 39-39 draw by Gloucester Rugby at Twickenham on Sunday.

Big Game 8 proved to be a thrilling ten-try contest, in which Gloucester centre Henry Trinder grabbed a pair of intercept scores and Quins fly-half Nick Evans missed a last-gasp drop goal to win it.

“Even on reflection, it was a bizarre game,” added O’Shea. “You knew that people had been treated to a cracking game of rugby and it takes two sides to come out with a willingness to play.

“Credit to Gloucester for hanging in there but a lot of it was in our own control – but we kept on coming back, we didn’t feel sorry for ourselves and we had a drop-goal to win it at the end. In a long season, it will be a lesson learnt.”

Boxing Day Sale! Click here to grab a bargain with 20% off tickets to the Aviva Premiership Rugby Final on 28 May at Twickenham.

Latest News

Jeff Williams excited by new Bath Rugby role for Singha Premiership Rugby 7s

Bath Rugby won’t be lacking rugby 7s experience when former England international Jeff Williams takes the reigns for the Singha…

Whiteley hoping to lead Saracens starlets to glory in Singha 7s

Saracens scrum-half Tom Whiteley is hoping to use all his experience of competing at the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s to…

Mike Delany returns to New Zealand

Newcastle Falcons fly-half Mike Delany has returned to his native New Zealand to sign for home province, Bay of Plenty.…

Mike Delany

Topsy Ojo talks London Double Header memories

With six weeks to go until London Irish lock horns with Harlequins in the iconic London Double Header at Twickenham,…

Topsy Ojo

Toby Flood hopes to bring ruthless streak to Newcastle Falcons

Toby Flood is hoping to help give Newcastle Falcons the ruthless streak required to push them further up the Aviva…

Toby Flood

Aviva Premiership Rugby set for changes after six law amendments added to global trial

Aviva Premiership Rugby will be part of the global trial for six new law amendments after the World Rugby Executive…

Alex Lewington hopes London Irish youngsters will gain confidence from Singha 7s

London Irish wing Alex Lewington cannot wait to see which youngsters step up to the plate in the Singha Premiership…

Alex Lewington

Worcester Warriors sign Ireland scrum-half Peter Stringer

Warriors have signed Ireland international Peter Stringer on a six-month deal ahead of the 2017/18 season. The scrum-half will join…

Peter Stringer

Tim Streather forced to retire from rugby

Former Saracens centre Tim Streather has been forced to retire from the game due to a knee injury. Commenting on…

Tim Streather

Contract and captaincy for Dylan Hartley at Northampton Saints

Northampton Saints has today announced that Dylan Hartley has both signed a new contract and been appointed as the club’s…

Dylan Hartley

Forwards Coach George Skivington says London Irish squad are chomping at the bit

The London Irish squad have returned for pre-season training ‘hungrier’ than ever before according to Forwards Coach George Skivington. Now…

George Skivington

Wasps Academy sign Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Wasps announce the signing of hooker Gabriel Oghre and prop George Thornton to the Senior Academy ahead of the new…

Gabriel Oghre and George Thornton

Singha 7s gives next generation the chance to shine

Harlequins academy coach Jim Evans believes that next week’s Singha Premiership Rugby 7s will give the league’s stars of the…

Harlequins in action at the Singha 7s

Singha Premiership Rugby 7s draw confirmed

The 2017-18 Premiership Rugby season will kick off – at the end of July - in spectacular style with the Singha…

Win an Executive Box for the Singha Premiership Rugby Sevens Series

Premiership Rugby has teamed up with Northampton Saints to offer supporters the chance to win themselves an Executive Box at…

Singha 7s Ball

Dave Attwood and team-mates happy to lend a hand at Bath Rugby Foundation’s Summer Scrum

Bath Rugby lock Dave Attwood admitted helping teach rugby to children with disabilities was extremely humbling as he and his…

Gordon Reid on his first training day with London Irish

New recruit Gordon Reid is determined to be a permanent fixture in London Irish’s front row having made the switch…

Gordon Reid

Singha 7s is a chance for players to shine, says Stephen Myler

Northampton Saints’ Stephen Myler is anticipating a vibrant atmosphere and high-octane rugby when the Singha Premiership Rugby 7s arrives at…

Stephen Myler

Mark Wilson bringing his England form back to Newcastle Falcons

Newcastle Falcons’ latest England international checked back in at his club on Monday, with Mark Wilson enthusiastic about their prospects…

Mark Wilson