O'Shea relishing Munster match-up
April 26, 2011
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea is looking forward to his side's trip to Limerick © Getty Images
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea admits that he is looking forward to returning to his native Limerick for Saturday's Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final clash with Munster but he is more concerned with seeing how his players stand up to what he feels is the "ultimate challenge" in European rugby.
Munster have long been considered close to unbeatable at Thomond Park and Quins' away record hardly offers O'Shea grounds for optimism given that they have won just won away game in this year's Aviva Premiership. However, the former Ireland international is looking forward to the game in Limerick nonetheless.
"Thomond Park is the ultimate challenge in European competition so our intensity levels will have to be really high," he said. "The players are really excited about the prospect of a European semi-final and this is certainly a big match for us.
"All I can ever ask of my team is that they give everything to the performance - then it's simply a case of the best men win so we will see what happens.
"This is all about Harlequins playing in a semi-final rather than about me. Obviously I always enjoy going home and I will look forward to taking the team there as I would for any big occasion. We are all looking forward to it immensely.
"Harlequins have won this competition twice before but it is now harder than ever to win because the introduction of the Heineken Cup teams has taken it to another level. If you just look at the semi-finalists of the Amlin, none of them would look out of place gracing the last four of the Heineken Cup.
"We've experienced it all in the Amlin Challenge Cup this season. We were virtually flooded in Bayonne and they were bailing hay in the snow at Connacht but this has been a great competition to be involved with.
"Our away record has not been great this season and we have lost quite a few games by just one score, which has been very disappointing. But on our day we know we can be a very, very difficult team to beat and can challenge anyone.
"We have sat down and committed to a style of rugby that we believe suits us and will make as a very strong team for the future."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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