O’Shea: Spring weather will favour Quins

HARLEQUINS boss Conor O’Shea believes the odds of success for his side in the Heineken Cup have shortened after they saw off Connacht 47-8 on Saturday to book a quarter-final place.

The Quins’ director of rugby saw his troops claim a resounding bonus-point win over the Irish outfit at the Stoop with Tom Williams scoring two of six tries and Nick Evans kicking 15 points.

Quins still have one group stage game to go against Biarritz but, already looking ahead to the last eight, O’Shea feels the conditions come the spring will help them.

“We will enjoy the aftermath and have the opportunity of looking forward to that quarter-final at the Stoop on a hard pitch in April,” O’Shea said.

“Connacht came to play rugby; it was tough for long periods especially as we played into a stiff breeze in the first half. The penalty try just before half-time gave us breathing space.”

Meanwhile London rivals Saracens could well join Quins in the Heineken Cup quarter-finals. Fly-half Owen Farrell excelled against French outfit Racing Metro on Saturday, kicking 11 from 11, as Saracens fought back from 25-18 down at half-time to win 37-28.

“Owen’s goal kicking and game management were exemplary,” said Mark McCall, Saracens’ director of rugby. “Together with an outstanding second half, it saw us come back from some big early setbacks.”

Elsewhere, London Wasps are into the Amlin Challenge Cup quarter-finals after Tom Varndell scored a 13-minute hat-trick in a 71-7 demolition of Italian outfit Mogliano.

London Welsh claimed their first home Amlin Challenge Cup victory after they also comfortably overcame Italian opposition – the Exiles running in nine tries in a 62-5 thrashing of Cavalieri Prato.

London Irish’s hopes of progressing are over after Gloucester beat Bordeaux-Begles 31-26, although they did not go down without a fight, having seen off Mont de Marsan 20-14 on Thursday.

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