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O'Shea is left to reflect on what might have been

There is serious concern over an arm injury to Leinster's Rhys Ruddock.

He was seen supported by a sling after his withdrawal from a blow which could ruin his Six Nations, depending on the results of an X-Ray yesterday.

The additional impact from Wasps bonus-point victory over Castres Olympique means Pool Two is as tight as you can have it.

Harlequins and Leinster are dead level on thirteen points with Wasps tucked up nicely in behind on twelve. This is gonig right down to the wire.

Conor O'Shea had the look of a man who just had his pocket picked late into Saturday night.

At least for now.

There was understandable frustration at how referee Romain Poite and The Match Official Eric Gonthier came to the conclusion that Joe Marler knocked on the ball in the lead up to Mike Brown's disallowed try when it appeared more likely a wily Rob Kearney ripped the ball away on the floor.

"Momentum-wise it was huge. But you can't control it," said the Dubliner.

"Was the ball ripped on the ground? It was, in my opinion. But that's my opinion. It's not the opinion that counts, unfortunately.

"It should be a penalty to us and then play-on and the advantage then is the try."

When that decision didn't go Harlequins way, they didn't go away.

"Our reaction wasn't to go into a hole. It was to keep on playing and work our way back into the game," he stated. They just couldn't close it out.

This is a leader who commands total respect from his players. They followed his instructions to carve out a lead they should have kept.

"We got dominance in the scrum, held onto the ball and made inroads."

You can't help thinking about what might have happened if captain Chris Robshaw and out-half Nick Evans had been at The Aviva.

"We came here without Robo and Nick. Two 21-year-olds (Jack Clifford and Tim Swiel) stood in and stood up," he added. "We're in control of our destiny and there is a long way to go."

Leinster renew acquaintances with Castres at The RDS in the middle of January and what could turn out to be a winner-takes-all visit to Wasps the week after that in the final two rounds of a deep Pool.

In terms of possible citings for Harlequins lock Charlie Matthews using his hands across the eyes of Dominic Ryan and elbows dropped onto the head of Ian Madigan, it was a case of 'nothing to see here'.

Leinster coach Matt O'Connor was not inclined to look to the citing commissioner for gain, describing it as a "non event".

"There's two games to go and we've given ourselves a chance."


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