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

Denny Solomona; “I’ve been here three years and it’s the choice I want to make”

Sale Sharks flying winger Denny Solomona is now eligible to play for England after receiving notification from the RFU. Speaking…

Denny Solomona

Saints community coaching helps Royal Latin reach Twickenham

This afternoon the first team from Buckingham’s Royal Latin School will be running out at Twickenham, thanks to the coaching…

Italy prop Michele Rizzo agrees new deal with Leicester Tigers

Italy international prop Michele Rizzo has agreed a new contract with Leicester Tigers. Rizzo has returned from injury to take…

Michele Rizzo

Former Scotland skipper Andy Nicol looks ahead to exciting Champions Cup clashes

As an ex-Glasgow Warrior Andy Nicol is delighted to see the Scotstoun outfit side reach the quarter-finals of the Champions…

RFU Disciplinary Hearing: Bryce Heem

The charge against Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors for tackling the jumper in the air, contrary to law 10.4(i), was…

Bryce Heem

Saracens to thank Emergency Services at Derby Day

Saracens are offering complimentary tickets to any member of the London Emergency Services for the upcoming Derby Day clash against…


Champions Cup semi-final venues announced

BT Murrayfield in Edinburgh, Dublin’s Aviva Stadium and Franklin’s Gardens in Northampton, as well as three French stadiums – the Allianz…

Fly-half Josh Lewis signs for Bath Rugby

Bath Rugby is delighted to welcome fly-half Josh Lewis, who will join the Club from Ebbw Vale for the 2017/18…

Josh Lewis

Don Armand targeting big final push with Exeter Chiefs

Don Armand insists Exeter Chiefs will make the most of time off to ensure they are in fine fettle for…

Don Armand

RFU Disciplinary: Bryce Heem

Bryce Heem of Worcester Warriors will appear before an RFU Disciplinary panel this evening charged with tackling the jumper in…

Gloucester Rugby respond to rumours regarding Carl Fearns

Gloucester Rugby have today responded to a story in the French press alleging that Carl Fearns will not be joining…


Chew Valley champing at the bit for Twickenham outing following Bath Rugby’s Land Rover Premiership Rugby Cup

Lewis Kenyon and his Chew Valley U12s team were left grinning from ear to ear after securing a spot as part…