Sport Rugby

Sunday 20 August 2017

O'Shea puts massive feather in his cap

JOHN FALLON

Conor O'Shea's status as a possible future Irish coach moved up another notch when he masterminded Munster's downfall yesterday.

Harlequins adopted the perfect game plan to send Munster crashing to only their second defeat in 16 seasons of European rugby at Thomond Park.

The margin in the end flattered Munster, so much so that coach Tony McGahan opted not to comment on the performance of frustrating French referee Roman Poite.

"I think in different circumstances I'd probably make some comment, but I don't think it's correct or proper to make any comment on that after the way we played," he said.

McGahan said his team never gave themselves a chance of victory and he could not pinpoint the collapse or the remarkable amount of basic errors in handling, passing, line-out and decision-making.

"We have been training exceptionally well and our attack has been solid. We had a bad day in the defence against Brive, but I don't think we got past two phases in the first half today with 11 turnovers.

"The way we played we didn't give ourselves any opportunity to get a result whatsoever. We have played with a great passion and intensity over the last few weeks, but you need to give Harlequins credit for the way they turned up here today.

"We really stood off them and we didn't get enough squareness in the line to get people off the edges. They continually built momentum, it was like a training run for them at times," lamented McGahan.

He said they now needed to concentrate on the Magners League but warned they will not progress there either unless they pick up the pieces.

His counterpart, O'Shea, said it was a huge win for his club to come to Thomond Park and turn over Munster.

"I am incredibly proud, as you can imagine, for various different reasons. We worked on the basis we didn't have a hope and we are going to have fun and see where it will take us. That's the way we went about this week because enough teams come over here and don't show the respect that this place deserves.

"We even felt before the game that there was an expectation that we were going to come over here and have our tummies tickled and roll over. We were never going to do that."

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