Harlequins boss Conor O'Shea announces plan to leave Stoop sparking Italy head coach speculation

 
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Harlequins v Wasps - Aviva Premiership
Off: O'Shea is reportedly in line for the Italy head coach role (Source: Getty)

Harlequins' director of rugby Conor O'Shea has announced he will leave the club at the end of the season after six years in charge.

O'Shea's contract expires at the end of the current campaign and the 45-year-old is expected to succeed Jacques Brunel as Italy head coach.

"I will have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to this special club for over six years come May," said O'Shea.

"I have enjoyed working with everybody at Harlequins, from the players to the staff to the supporters, having said that, the end of this season is the right time for me to move on."

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Harlequins will now immediately begin their search for O'Shea's announcement.

The Aviva Premiership club won the Amlin Challenge Cup and LV Cup during O'Shea's tenure, during a period in which the club battled to rebuild its reputation following the bloodgate scandal.

"All of us at the club are of course disappointed that Conor will be leaving us at the end of this season," said the club's chief executive David Ellis.

He continued: “Conor took over as Director of Rugby after a difficult period in our history. Under his leadership and through his determination, energy and positive approach he has helped restore pride in our famous shirt and rejuvenate the playing style for which we are known.

"His passion for the game, for the Club and for the squad he has built is there for all to see."

O'Shea turned down an approach from Italy earlier in the season. The Irishman described it as "a massive honour" but insisted "my job is here and I want to make sure we continue it."

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