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Harlequins

  • Evans, Brown, Smith,
    Penalty goals: Evans (2),
    Conversions: Evans,
23 - 9

London Irish


  • Penalty goals: O'Connor (3),
  • Aviva Premiership
  • 29th Mar 2014
  • KO 15:00
  • Ground: The Stoop
  • Att: 14,800

Aviva Premiership: Conor O'Shea says Sale clash is pivotal

Last updated: 29th March 2014  

Aviva Premiership: Conor O'Shea says Sale clash is pivotal

Conor O'Shea: Focusing on the run-in after beating London Irish

We know that whoever wins when we go to Sale is in the fight for the top four. Whoever loses, isn't.

Conor O'Shea
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Conor O'Shea identified Harlequins' April 11 showdown against Sale as the decisive fixture in their quest to finish in the top four of the Aviva Premiership.

A 23-9 victory over London Irish that saw Nick Evans, Sam Smith and Mike Brown score tries at Twickenham Stoop revived Quins' hopes of securing a place in the end-of-season play-offs.

Now six points adrift of fourth-placed Bath, O'Shea views the clash with Sale, who lie fifth, as pivotal.

"We know we have to win all four of our remaining games to be within a chance of finishing in the top four," director of rugby O'Shea said.

"We know that whoever wins when we go to Sale is in the fight for the top four. Whoever loses, isn't.

"It's going to be a real fight and I've always said it will be. We want to fight until the bitter end.

"Everybody plays each other and we have Leicester and Bath to come here.

"You have to keep going, take it day by day and not look too far ahead."

It took the vision of Danny Care to break Irish's stubborn resistance with the England scrum-half floating a 70th-minute pass to Smith for the wing to score.

"The standards we set ourselves are better than that," O'Shea said.

"We're never arrogant enough to take any Premiership win for granted, so we should be happy with the win, but our ambition and standards are higher.

"The breakdown was frustrating beyond comprehension throughout the game. We'll take the win, but we know there's more in this team."

Irish looking ahead

Irish have little left to play for with Worcester destined for relegation and director of rugby Brian Smith admitted preparations have already begun for next season.

"We're in limbo now. We're looking up at the table thinking we can maybe catch the next team above us," Smith said.

"We can't do much more than that because there are only four fixtures left, so we're looking at the future.

"Obviously we want to win our home games and be competitive. Of course we want to win, but we also have one eye on next season.

"Giving game time to the younger blokes is part of the long-term plan."

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Forthcoming Aviva Premiership Fixtures
TimeFixture
Aviva Premiership
Friday 6th March
Aviva Premiership
19:45Bath vs Sale Sharks
Saturday 7th March
15:00Exeter vs London Welsh
15:00Harlequins vs London Irish
15:15Gloucester vs Northampton
Sunday 8th March
14:00Wasps vs Saracens
15:00Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers
Friday 27th March
19:45Northampton vs Wasps
Saturday 28th March
15:00London Irish vs Newcastle
15:00Leicester vs Exeter
15:15Saracens vs Harlequins
Sunday 29th March
14:00Sale vs Gloucester
14:30London Welsh vs Bath
Friday 10th April
19:45Newcastle vs Bath
Saturday 11th April
15:00Harlequins vs Gloucester
15:15Saracens vs Leicester
Sunday 12th April
14:00Exeter vs Northampton
14:30London Welsh vs Wasps
15:00London Irish vs Sale
Saturday 25th April
14:00Sale vs Harlequins
15:00Gloucester vs Newcastle
15:00Bath vs London Irish
15:00Northampton vs Saracens
15:00Leicester vs London Welsh
Sunday 26th April
14:00Wasps vs Exeter
Saturday 9th May
14:00Sale vs Newcastle

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Phil Edwards

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