O'Shea delighted to survive rollercoaster clash
September 1, 2012
Quins' comeback featured two tries from fullback Mike Brown © PA Photos
Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea was delighted to see his side conjure a great escape against London Wasps at Twickenham on Saturday but insists he "never" wants to go through it again.
The reigning Aviva Premiership champions looked poised to be kick off their defence of the title with an embarrassing defeat as Wasps powered into a 40-13 lead shortly after the break but back came Quins with 29 unanswered points to claim a 42-40 victory and the record for the biggest comeback in Premiership history.
"I never want to go through that again," said O'Shea after watching his side turn the game around thanks to two tries from fullback Mike Brown and further scores from winger Tom Williams, replacement Tom Guest and man of the match Nick Evans who also kicked four conversions and three penalties.
"I did think the game was gone. Our set-piece was poor, our discipline, they won the contact areas and when we turned the ball over they stung us," he added. "It was a long way back - but we got a lot of energy from the bench.
"That try Guest scored from the charge-down just gave us a little bit of hope. The more we played, the more we held onto the ball. We started winning the collisions, we got our offloading game going.
"We are delighted to get away with that but we know defensively we are miles better than that. We didn't bring our game. Thankfully we have got away with it. It is the rocket we need, potentially."
Wasps had threatened to upset the odds with wingers Christian Wade and Tom Varndell tearing into Quins from the outset. "For 50 minutes we probably played as well as we have done since I have been at the club," said director of rugby Dai Young whose side narrowly missed being relegated last season.
"We talked at half-time about not switching off and keeping our concentration and how good a team Quins were and that they would keep playing. Things that weren't sticking for them first half and were sticking for us, it was always going to change.
"It wasn't a surprise for us. I thought the charge-down kick gave them that momentum and for the last 30 minutes we struggled to get our hands on the ball."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament