Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 28 August 2014

O'shea hails Quins stand-ins

Conor O'Shea was impressed with the performance of Harlequins' replacements

Director of rugby Conor O'Shea praised his stand-in stars after Aviva Premiership champions Harlequins returned to the top of the table with a 28-25 home win over Gloucester.

Quins went into the match without skipper Chris Robshaw, winger Ugo Monye, scrum-half Danny Care and prop Joe Marler, on duty with England.

"I thought the lads really stepped up," said O'Shea.

Karl Dickson produced a tap-and-dash penalty reminiscent of Care to create a try for centre Matt Hopper, a replacement for the injured George Lowe, Monye's deputy Sam Smith grabbed an interception try and Marler's replacement Mark Lambert produced a high-impact 80-minute performance.

O'Shea was also full of praise for former England number eight Nick Easter, who skippered the side in Robshaw's absence, and full-back Mike Brown, who responded with the opening try after being released from the England training camp this weekend.

He said: "Nick is an outstanding leader and Brown reacted phenomenally in the way he played tonight. His involvement in the game was huge.

"He's absolutely outstanding in the fundamentals of full-back play, he scores tries, he takes responsibility.

"I hope he gets the opportunity to play at home in a Test match from the start over these next few weeks.

"I'm not saying anything against Ben Foden, who is a great player - injured - and Alex Goode, in outstanding form, but Mike Brown for two years has been absolutely the best full-back in the country."

Nigel Davies, the Gloucester rugby director, said: "I'm disappointed because we didn't play particularly well but I'm very proud of how well the boys fought. The spirit in this team is great."

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre