Planet Rugby

Togetherness key to wins - O'Shea

16th December 2013 09:10

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conor o shea harlequins

On course: Conor O'Shea

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea hailed his team's attitude and ethos after a Heineken Cup double over big-spending Parisians Racing Métro.

Having fallen to defeats against the Scarlets and at Clermont in the opening two rounds of the pool stages, Quins quarter-final hopes were hanging by a thread.

But the double-salvo over the Top14 giants, including a bonus-point victory in Nantes and a 17-3 triumph at home on Saturday, saw those aspirations rekindled in style.

"Over two weekends we've taken nine points out of a possible 10 against a Racing team with a large squad," said O'Shea.

"We were the better team, with emphasis on team, and that's what made the big difference.

"Racing had four Lions who started the third Test against Australia out there. Money can help, but it takes time.

"If you're spending in the region of £20 million on a squad when we're spending £5 million, it's a huge disparity, but that's part of the challenge.

"Sometimes you overpay players. Some people are maybe getting too much money and become comfortable.

"It's a difficult kettle of fish when you're playing Clermont who have been together for such a long time."

And Clermont are next up for Quins in the Heineken Cup, visiting the Stoop in early January.

O'Shea is confident his side's diligence and mental strength can win the day, pointing to Northampton Saints' uncompromising performance to overcome Leinster at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday.

"Northampton showed against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium what character, physicality and sheer will can do," added O'Shea.

"We have that in abundance as well. Securing a losing bonus point at Clermont in October was bit of a turning point in terms of rediscovering ourselves.

"To have lost our first two games but to be right back in it when Clermont come here is fantastic. We know exactly what we have to do.

"We've been written off but this team likes challenges."

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1Saracens1976
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5Harlequins1954