Friday 23 August 2019

'Referees in rugby need to favour attacking teams' - Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea

Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea
Harlequins Director of Rugby Conor O'Shea

Duncan Bech

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has urged referees to favour the attacking team to encourage greater ambition in the Aviva Premiership.

One of the themes of the World Cup was a deviation away from the usual defensive template nations fall back on for the global showpiece in favour of a more offensive approach.

England's demise was sealed by a brilliant display from Australia, who cut them to shreds en route to a 33-13 victory at Twickenham, resulting in calls for a change in thinking at club level.

Quins are among the Premiership teams intent on playing an expansive game and O'Shea wants to see them given greater support by officials.

"I'd absolutely like to see more clubs play attacking rugby. There are sides doing it on a regular basis, but we need a style of officiating that favours the attacking team," O'Shea said.

"The immediate response to you when you say that is, 'Well of course you'd say that, but there needs to be a fair contest for the ball'.

"I agree with that, but Australia and New Zealand showed during the World Cup there can still be a fair contest for the ball.

"The fair contest cannot favour the defensive team and in this hemisphere, we favour the defensive team over the attacking team.

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"There is attacking intent, but the attacking team doesn't get the rub of the green as much as they should. If they did, then there would be more intent."

Quins host Sale at Twickenham Stoop on Friday night buoyed by a 38-28 victory at Bath last weekend.

"To score 38 points down there was great. Losing to Sale at home last season really rankled and for that win at Bath to have any consequence, we have to back it up on Friday," O'Shea said.

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