Belfast Telegraph

Home Sport Rugby

Conor O'Shea thrilled with victory as Harlequins hold on to beat Bath

Harlequins d irector of rugby Conor O'Shea hailed a "massive" win for his side after they held off a superb Bath comeback to record only their second victory in eight matches.

However, the Irishman appeared l ess impressed by the performance of the referee in the second half, claiming his side were being penalised "for the fun of it".

Quins had looked to be cruising to victory at the Stoop after building a 35-6 lead by the 44th minute on the back of two tries from Charlie Walker and scores by Harry Sloan and James Horwill.

The hosts were then given a huge scare, though, as struggling Bath rallied through tries from Amanaki Mafi, Jeff Williams and Semesa Rokoduguni to get to within seven points.

Quins held on in the end and O'Shea was delighted with his side's display, if less so about some of the decisions made by referee Dean Richards after the break.

He said after the 35-28 triumph: "What a game of rugby, the first half was lung-bursting and we played some brilliant rugby and it's a massive win.

"We were killed by the referee in the second half as we were penalised for the fun of it. It was as if the referee felt that the game shouldn't have been all one way."

Regarding his side's recent run, O'Shea added: " This eight-game challenge has been very tough for us with five out of the seven games on the road with a young and small group."

Bath's loss was their 11th in the Aviva Premiership this season and coach Mike Ford admitted the first-half sin-binning of scrum-half Chris Cook for a deliberate knock-on cost his side dear.

He said: "The sin-bin cost us as they scored 24 points in Cook's absence. They scored just before half-time so we had to change the half-time team talk and then we conceded another soft one so our heads went down.

"We should have had a penalty try at a crucial stage in the first half when Horacio Agulla was hauled down near the line. Their player tackled Amanaki Mafi when he was in an offside position."

"We showed great character to get a bonus point from that position and that was very positive. We'll take heart from the last 30 minutes but we did give them three of their four tries."

Next up for the Quins is a home game at Worcester next Saturday, which O'Shea believes to be crucial.

He said: "It's a massive game, if we can win that it's a five-game sprint to the finish. It will be a bun fight as they will be all tough games. However before that we need to do a job on Worcester and then we will be right in the mix for a top-four finish."

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph