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O'Shea calls for positive changes


Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, pictured, wants changes

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, pictured, wants changes

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea, pictured, wants changes

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has called for changes to be made to favour attack-minded teams.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said during the week that rugby was in danger of becoming "boring" due to an overly defensive and cautious approach at the top level.

And O'Shea, whose Harlequins side ground out a tense 26-20 victory against London Irish, echoed the Kiwi's comments about the current state of the game.

"What do you want from the game?," O'Shea said.

"You look at the Premiership. We (Harlequins) carry more than everyone. We pass more than anyone. We offload more than everybody. We hold onto the ball more than anyone.

"The cynic will say 'they've been found out'. Well that's rubbish because we need to be more accurate and technically better but we want to play with the ball in hand.

"Now, if that is a sin to want to play rugby and not just kick-chase and put pressure on the defence then I think the game has a massive question to ask itself.

"Does it want to be all about glorious kick-chasing and pressure or does it want to see teams play with ball in hand?"

London Irish head coach Glenn Delaney disagreed with O'Shea's views and argued that the game needs variety.

Delaney's side were on the back foot for most of the afternoon but kept in touch with Harlequins thanks to breakaway tries from James Short and Tom Fowlie.

"What you've got to look at is if teams are going to attack, they're going to have to defend as well and you'll defend any way you can within the laws of the game," said Delaney.

"I think there's also an argument that some teams when they attack have a lot of blockers and a lot of people messing around at the fringes of the ruck trying to interfere with defensive teams.

"It's a bit of a cat and mouse game. The beauty of the game is you can approach it any way you want. We had a set-piece dominance today which didn't translate on the scoreboard."

Quins held out for their first Aviva Premiership victory since January - O'Shea's side had lost their last three games in the league following defeats to Wasps, Exeter and Northampton - and the Quins boss insists that his side's recent struggles will hold them in good stead.

"Four weeks ago, we were sitting two points off the top four," O'Shea added.

"But I think some of the young guys are going to learn massively from it.

"At times, it looked like we were going to score some great tries and we didn't, but we'll use this win as a good fillip."