O'Shea expects tight battle
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea is convinced that his side's Aviva Premiership final with Leicester will be decided by "fine margins".
Last Updated: 22/05/12 7:03pm
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea is convinced that his side's Aviva Premiership final with Leicester will be decided by "fine margins".
Quins finished first in the regular season table after leading the way for virtually the entire campaign, but still find themselves as underdogs heading into the showdown at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Tigers emerged clear winners when the two sides faced each other at Twickenham Stoop in April, while the second-place finishers also dumped out reigning champions Saracens in their play-off semi-final.
But O'Shea is convinced Quins can go toe-to-toe with the nine-time Premiership champions and thinks a small number of key moments will decide the destiny of this season's title.
"What we'll take comfort from is the fact that this is a big game. This will be decided by fine margins. Our match at the Stoop a few weeks back was 44-33," he told Sky Sports.
"We had momentum, we took chances - they had momentum, they took more chances.
"I hope this game is similar, it's a massive match that will be decided on pivotal moments, whether it be a last-ditch tackle, the bounce of the ball, a chance taken or a chance missed.
"At the end of the match we just hope we have taken more than them and when we have momentum we take our chances, and when they have we stop them.
"I think it is going to be an incredibly close game. Whatever the scoreboard says at the end of the game it will be decided on certain things which we have to work on and make sure they go our way."
Harlequins needed a last-gasp try from Joe Marler to scrape past Northampton and book their place in the Premiership final for the first time.
In contrast, Leicester will be competing in their eighth consecutive final but O'Shea is certain that his side will be able to handle the occasion just as well.
He added: "The semi-finals you put to one side, the shackles are off (now).
"We know we're the underdogs, we know people are probably expecting to go along and watch Leicester be crowned champions again, but we're very confident in ourselves and what we can bring to the party.
"We'll certainly take solace from the big games that we've played over the last 12 months, whether it was winning at Thomond Park last year, winning at Toulouse this year or winning at Wembley against Saracens.
"We know the challenge is massive but we're not going in to be cowed, we're going in to take the game to Leicester and see where it takes us."