Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

O'Shea wants Quins progress

Conor O'Shea

Harlequins will look to compound Wasps' miserable season on Friday by ending their Amlin Challenge Cup hopes.

The London rivals meet in a quarter-final clash at the Twickenham Stoop as England's only remaining representatives - and Quins are clear favourites. They have already beaten Wasps twice this term and drawn once, while they currently stand seven points above them in the Aviva Premiership.

Both sides lost last weekend - Quins at home to Leicester, and Wasps away against London Irish - but Quins boss Conor O'Shea said: "There is no doubt we played, and in many regards were better than, the benchmark side in England. I said straight after the match against Leicester that I was proud of the guys, and hindsight made me more so."

He added: "We now have a chance to keep moving onwards and not dwelling or moping about the past, but it is against a team that, along with Leicester, have flown the flag in Europe for England.

"There are some great sides left in the Amlin this season, but we have our benchmark in terms of intensity and intent that we need every week."

Quins are without prop Joe Marler, who is serving a two-week ban after being sent off for punching Leicester's Marcos Ayerza last Saturday, so the experienced Ceri Jones deputises.

And one other enforced change up-front sees flanker Chris Robshaw absent due to a deep cut suffered to his knee against Tigers, meaning a start for Will Skinner, with England number eight Nick Easter taking over from Robshaw as skipper.

Wasps, meanwhile, show four changes from the side beaten 25-12 by Irish.

Ben Jacobs replaces centre Dominic Waldouck, who faces surgery today and then six months on the sidelines after suffering a torn Achilles', with fit-again Richard Haughton returning on the wing. In the pack, prop Ben Broster gains a call-up and there is a first European start for young second-row prospect Joe Launchbury.

Elsewhere on Friday, England forwards Tom Palmer and James Haskell line up for Stade Francais in their Paris quarter-final against Montpellier, with Munster - minus their injured Ireland lock Paul O'Connell - visiting Brive on Saturday.

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