O'Shea is in contention for top job at Harlequins

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The Independent Online

Conor O'Shea, the former Ireland full-back whose post-playing career has seen him take on a number of increasingly demanding administrative jobs, is the latest man to be linked with the vacant director of rugby post at Harlequins. The Londoners have been on the recruitment trail since the summer, when Dean Richards fell on his sword over the fake blood scandal that shook the professional game to its core. Richards is now in the early months of a three-year ban.

Ian McGeechan, who left Wasps under something of a cloud earlier this year, was considered by many to be a front-runner. So too was Tony Diprose, who won caps for England at No 8 before joining the coaching staff at the Stoop. But according to reports last night, O'Shea has emerged as a major contender, with an announcement imminent.

Born in County Limerick, O'Shea retired from rugby after suffering a serious ankle injury while playing for London Irish. He went on to serve the club as director of rugby and managing director before joining the Rugby Football Union to oversee the development of the regional academy system. Currently, he holds down a senior position with the English Institute of Sport.

Harlequins have made it clear that the new man must work with the existing coaching team, which features Diprose as a specialist defence strategist and is headed up by John Kingston, who declined to apply for the vacancy despite playing a significant hand in restoring the club's equilibrium after months of public humiliation.

Danny Care, the first-choice scrum-half at the Stoop, will be available for this weekend's Heineken Cup match at Sale after receiving a one-match ban for a dangerous tackle on the Leeds forward Rhys Oakley just under a fortnight ago. In effect, Care has already served the sentence.