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O'Shea furious after defeat

Harlequins rugby director Conor O'Shea was a study in controlled fury after what he considered to be a number of injustices in the 17-13 home defeat by Leicester.

O'Shea directed his fury at referee Wayne Barnes without once mentioning his name after seeing Joe Marler sent off for punching Marcos Ayerza, who head-butted the prop twice before he retaliated. Quins were also reduced to 13 men when Barnes sin-binned Will Skinner and Mark Lambert for scrum offences in the Aviva Premiership encounter.

O'Shea said: "There are a number of talking points. Does Joe feel hard-done by? I know I would be. Should he have reacted that way, probably not. Was the provocation high? Absolutely. But I do want to know why when Tom Williams was tackled off the ball going for the line, there was no penalty try, no yellow card when both should have been 100%."

He added: "You can write and be very accurate about what you saw. It was a huge game, but I have to go away, look at it again and be measured.

"The ball was out of the scrum when Will Skinner took it yet got yellow carded. I know what I feel about what happened, but just hope the supporters are as proud of the guys as I am. With more accuracy we'd have won, but this is when people grow up and learn.

"We need to play like that again next week only take our chances when we create them against Wasps next Friday night in the Amlin Cup quarter-final. The root cause of the problem should be tackled, and it is not about players. Joe is a top bloke. People say he can be wound up, but I disagree. Just look at what was done to him."

Leicester rugby director Richard Cockerill admitted the game was "fractious" and that his side were fortunate not to be worse off at half-time.

He said: "That's rugby. So much happened out there and it was a fractious game at times. Marler was involved in everything. He has a Mohican hairdo dyed orange so he's difficult to miss. It's up to Quins to deal with him. We look to our own players.

"We certainly didn't look like champions in that first half and were fortunate not to be worse than 10-0 down. We spoke at the break about keeping to our game plan and doing things calmly.

"We have some very talented players but we do need to be better as a collective because if we give Leinster the chances we gave Quins we'll be 30 points down at half-time.I believe 70 points will guarantee us a top two finish, and I still believe there's a twist or two to come in this Premiership run-in."

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