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Conor O'Shea plays down Lyn Jones links with Harlequins

Published 12/04/2016

Lyn Jones, left, is not in the running for Harlequins' director of rugby job, according to Conor O'Shea
Lyn Jones, left, is not in the running for Harlequins' director of rugby job, according to Conor O'Shea

Conor O'Shea has poured cold water on reports Lyn Jones is in the frame to succeed him as director of rugby at Harlequins.

Newport Gwent Dragons boss Jones attended Harlequins training last Thursday, sparking suggestions the former Ospreys coach could be in the running to join the Aviva Premiership outfit next term.

Those claims intensified when Jones was taken ill, missing Saturday's 23-21 European Challenge Cup victory at Gloucester - but O'Shea remains adamant nothing untoward has gone on behind the scenes.

"It's people putting two and two together and making five," said Harlequins boss O'Shea, who is leaving The Stoop to become Italy head coach this summer.

"Lyn was here on Thursday, not the day they played or whatever.

"He was just here with his son, so I would suspect if he was ill he was ill the following day. Nothing wrong with that."

Former England boss Stuart Lancaster and New Zealand assistant coach Wayne Smith have been touted as possible successors to O'Shea, who has led Harlequins since 2010.

O'Shea admitted Harlequins' hierarchy are not too far away from settling on his successor, but called on impartial observers not to jump to conclusions about Jones.

"When London Welsh got promoted Colin Osborne, as well as coaching here he was doing skills with London Welsh," said O'Shea.

"Lyn and Colin Osborne have been friends for a long time, and obviously worked together then.

"And since Lyn's been at London Welsh I've got to know him really well so just having him around when he came in, that's all that mattered there.

"And if he was sick the following day he was sick the following day.

"Our backs coach Mark Mapletoft is spotted in Gloucester on a regular basis, poor old Tofty has kids down there, and he's from there.

"Marland Yarde came in one day and said to him 'I heard you were down in Gloucester' and he replied 'well I do like to see my kids from time to time'.

"The bosses here are starting now to cut down the shortlist and some decisions will be made pretty quickly I would have thought.

"I'm involved and I've been asked but the ultimate decision is not going to come down to me.

"I've been involved in the process and I'll let the club complete the process."

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