‘Tougher challenge’: Conor O’Shea says Harlequins trip to Worcester Warriors made difficult with Dean Ryan appointment


Quins can guarantee an Aviva Premiership semi-final spot with victory.


By Tom Macleod

Conor O’Shea has told his Harlequins players their visit to Worcester Warriors has become much tougher with Richard Hill’s exit from Sixways.

Quins can guarantee an Aviva Premiership semi-final spot with victory, but with Worcester announcing Dean Ryan as their new director of rugby this week O’Shea expects a backlash.

The former England international will take over in the summer and the Quins coach knows Worcester’s players now have to earn their places for next season.

”The Worcester guys are now playing for their contracts and that makes this an even tougher challenge,” said O’Shea.

“Dean’s arrival will mean change at the club and players will be out to impress.

“Their squad could react in different ways with some players disappointed that Richard has gone.

“The bottom line is that we need to win to clinch a play-off place by guaranteeing the top-four finish.”

Quins will arrive at Sixways just one point ahead of fourth placed Northampton, who they face in the final regular-season match on May 4.

O’Shea’s side got back on track with a 23-9 win against Bath last week after a poor run of three consecutive league defeats.

And the Irishman fired a warning to his rivals with Quins desperate to retain their Aviva Premiership title at Twickenham on May 25.

“Write us off if you want, but we are not going to give up our crown without a fight,” he added.

“We were the team that everyone wanted to beat, and although Leicester and Saracens have taken that tag, we are still under the microscope as champions.

“We talked a lot about the mental challenge before the Bath game and the players responded magnificently.”

“We know we need to win this weekend to be guaranteed a top four finish and we know we are a strong side away from the Stoop.”

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