O'Shea praises team ethic

Salisbury Journal: Conor O'Shea praised Harlequins' team spirit Conor O'Shea praised Harlequins' team spirit

Conor O'Shea acclaimed Harlequins' team ethic after completing a Heineken Cup double over Racing Metro despite operating on a far smaller budget.

Quins lost their opening two matches of Pool Four but successive wins against Racing, concluded with a 17-3 triumph at Twickenham Stoop, have revived hopes of reaching the quarter-finals.

Clermont, who top the group by four points, must now travel to south west London on the second weekend of January in the pivotal fixture.

Racing paraded four British and Irish Lions in Jamie Roberts, Jonathan Sexton, Mike Phillips and Dan Lydiate and O'Shea questioned the wisdom of paying large salaries.

"Over two weekends we've taken nine points out of a possible 10 against a Racing team with a large squad," the club's director of rugby said.

"We were the better team, with emphasis on team, and that's what made the big difference.

"Racing had four Lions who started the third Test against Australia out there. Money can help, but it takes time.

"If you're spending in the region of £20million on a squad when we're spending £5million, it's a huge disparity, but that's part of the challenge.

"Sometimes you overpay players. Some people are maybe getting too much money and become comfortable.

"It's a difficult kettle of fish when you're playing Clermont who have been together for such a long time."

Once Quins have faced Heineken Cup heavyweights Clermont, they travel to Scarlets as they seek to complete a remarkable comeback by progressing to the knockout stages.

"Northampton showed against Leinster at the Aviva Stadium what character, physicality and sheer will can do," O'Shea said.

"We have that in abundance as well. Securing a losing bonus point at Clermont in October was bit of a turning point in terms of rediscovering ourselves.

"To have lost our first two games but to be right back in it when Clermont come here is fantastic. We know exactly what we have to do.

"We've been written off but this team likes challenges."

O'Shea revealed Nick Evans was taken off at half-time with a shoulder injury, but insisted the problem is not serious.

Evans slotted three penalties, while wing Charlie Walker scored the game's only try in first-half injury-time.

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