Conor O'Shea refuses to wear 'favourites' mantle
Sunday 17 March 2013
Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea has rejected the tag of favourites ahead of today's LV= Cup final against Sale at Sixways.
Quins are looking to secure the first of a potential trio of trophies when they meet a Sharks side struggling near the foot of the Aviva Premiership table.
The defending Premiership champions are well placed to retain their crown, and have also made it to the last eight of the Heineken Cup.
The London club have already shown their final pedigree after securing Amlin Challenge Cup glory in 2011 and beating Leicester at Twickenham to lift the league title last May.
Sale, meanwhile, were bottom of the Premiership until London Welsh were last week docked five points for fielding an ineligible player – a decision the Exiles have appealed. They have also lost their last six meetings with Quins.
But O'Shea believes league positions will have no bearing on who lifts the season's first silverware. He told Harlequins TV: "It's not about favourites, they have got some energy from the London Welsh decision and they have some outstanding players, as they showed in their performance against Saracens in the semi-final.
"They have players like Andy Powell, James Gaskell, Jonny Leota in the centre and Sam Tuitupou is coming back, and we know they play a style that is good to watch."
O'Shea has encouraged his side to focus on their performance, and let the result take care of itself: "We say to the players that it's not just about winning," he said.
"We want to win – we are not stupid in that sense – and we know we are judged on results.
"But we know what gets results, and that's our performances. So we want to enjoy, put our game out there and see where it takes us."
O'Shea has rewarded the XV who saw off Bath in last weekend's semi-finals by sticking with the same starting line-up. Sale, playing in their first major final since 2006, move Nick Macleod to full-back as Will Addison comes into the centre. Nathan Fowles gets the nod at scrum-half while Alasdair Dickinson, Marc Jones and Tony Buckley start in the front row.
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget that fateful day in Belgium
Revealed: The most unwatchable Premier League teams of the 2014/15 season
Paul Scholes column: With Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Michel Platini to consider pulling England and other Uefa members out of the World Cup if Sepp Blatter wins Fifa election
- 1 10 ways we damage our teeth – without realising
- 2 There is something wrong but very right about this Bible illustration
- 3 iPhone 'effective power' text: how to be safe from iOS bug that lets people crash your phone
- 4 Photo of wedding guest proposing to girlfriend in front of bride and groom goes viral
- 5 Charlie Charlie Challenge explained: it's just gravity — not a Mexican demon being summoned
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
SNP fury as HS2 finds 'no business case' for taking fast train service to Scotland
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote