Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

O'Shea salutes relentless Robshaw

Chris Robshaw was the standout performer

Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea hailed a "brilliant" performance by last season's England skipper Chris Robshaw after his team demolished Aviva Premiership opponents Worcester at Sixways.

Robshaw played a starring role as Quins romped home 37-13, scoring four tries to bounce back from last week's home defeat against Northampton.

Speculation in some sections of the media this week suggested that Saints flanker Tom Wood, who led England on their recent successful summer tour of Argentina, will keep the captain's job this term, although England head coach Stuart Lancaster has not yet made a decision.

"I see a lot of speculation about Chris," O'Shea said. "How anyone could ever not put him on a team sheet is beyond me. He is absolutely magnificent.

"You read about things, and I look at this bloke and I see what he does. I have spoken to Stuart about it (the speculation) this morning, and it's rubbish.

"Being the England captain is not an easy job, being an England international in any sport is never an easy job, but Chris has had a couple of years with that sort of pressure.

"To come out and play and lead like he did tonight, he was brilliant."

First-half tries from England internationals Danny Care and Joe Marler left Worcester with a mountain to climb, but they could find no way back as Robshaw dominated the close-quarter exchanges and repeatedly secured possession for his team.

Nick Evans chipped in with 14 points from the boot, and all Worcester could muster was two Ignacio Mieres penalties and a late penalty try that Mieres converted as their 34-13 reversal left them with just one point from three starts.

Three yellow cards during the opening 50 minutes did not help Worcester's cause, but they were outclassed by a slick Quins outfit as second-half touchdowns followed for hooker Rob Buchanan and full-back Mike Brown before substitute Ben Botica added a penalty in the dying seconds.

"I love watching them play rugby when they play like that, and anyone who doesn't shouldn't be watching rugby. We put a marker down tonight," O'Shea added.

"I was really pleased with the way we played, the way we went about things. Worcester won six out of seven games here under lights last season. It is not an easy place to come."

Quins had a bonus point safely pouched less than halfway through the second period, such was Worcester's defensive frailty, as the Londoners bounced back from last Friday's home defeat against Northampton.

They were never seriously troubled, with Worcester slumping to one of their heaviest home losses in the Premiership ahead of next weekend's Adams Park appointment with Wasps before hosting promoted Newcastle.

"The scoreline was a true reflection," said Worcester rugby director Dean Ryan, following his team's third successive league defeat of the season.

"Let's not try to dress it up, we were well beaten within 50 minutes. We can't cope with that intensity.

"We didn't have an answer to their off-loading game, and when you are under that much stress, something is going to give. We went down to 14 men, and it just gets harder and harder.

"In the second half we showed an awful lot of courage and worked really hard to try to stay in the game, but we were second tonight by some distance.

"That was a top of the table side that found some form tonight. It was as sharp as I have seen them for a while."

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