Quins boss hoping for European boost

Date published: October 10 2013

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea hopes this weekend's Heineken Cup action will spark his under-performing side into life.

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea wants Heineken Cup action to spark his side into life.

The director of rugby has been frustrated by Quins' early-season form, with his charges losing three of their opening five Premiership games.

The Stoop-based club won the Challenge Cup in 2012, and start their Heineken Cup campaign with a visit of the Scarlets on Saturday – a match O'Shea hopes can breathe new life into his players.

“We've had a difficult couple of weeks,” he told the ERC website.

“We've lost the last two matches so it's (the Heineken Cup) come at a great time for us.

“The freshness of Heineken Cup, playing against teams you know well but don't now intimately.

“To play Scarlets and then a trip to Clermont next week will be nice so there's a real buzz about the group.

“We feel that as a group we have started the season way too slowly and we want to put that right this weekend.”

Despite the Scarlets' poor European record last season – failing to win a single Heineken Cup match – O'Shea is braced for a tough fixture.

“Scarlets have massive European tradition in terms of how many times they have reached the competition,” added O'Shea.

“It's a huge pool and to think past that is ridiculous.

“I'm expecting an incredibly exciting team. Their scrum has been extremely strong weapon for them, they have a good maul and some outstanding backs.

“Rhys Priestland at fly-half will pull the strings, Jon Davies in the centre, who was such a star on the Lions, and their back three has a huge amount of pace.

“They play a great brand of rugby. I know Simon Easterby well and the Scarlets went through a bit of a transition period in his first season at the helm.

“They have lost George North and Andy Fenby to London Irish but they have plenty of quality players.

“They live off the raw material in the region and the raw material in Wales is very good material.”