Quins face up to the stark reality between winning and losing
Harlequins are facing up to the stark reality that is the thin line between winning and losing – all inside seven days and all under the watchful eye of director of rugby Conor O’Shea.
After last weekend’s 31-23 LV= Cup semi-final win over Bath, Quins barely had time to celebrate their achievement before preparation for Sunday’s final began.
It is, according to O’Shea, preparation for what will be a physical battle against Sale Sharks, and he is urging his charges to seize the moment.
He said: “Before the Bath semi-final we told the players that within two hours our cup competition could be over, or in eight days we could be holding the trophy – it is that stark.
“They have got to that eighth day and now it is a case of two more hours, and will we show the right attitude again?”
Two tries from Tom Williams helped a youthful Quins side reach the final.
Sale made it after a 21-15 win over a Saracens side weakened by their focus to hold on to top spot in the Aviva Premiership.
O’Shea is making just one change from the side that reached the final, with Kyle Sinckler missing out after being called up by the England U20s.
O’Shea said: “The final will be a hugely physical affair. Everyone saw what Sale were like against Saracens.
“They have a lot of youth, especially in the front row, as well as a lot experience in the team.
“Andy Powell was outstanding against Saracens, and people like Johnny Leota and Mark Cueto – if he is selected – and Danny Cipriani have real quality. They are an exciting team.”
While O’Shea hailed Sale’s mixture of youth and experience, he also points out his own side’s perfect balance.
“There is a huge amount of experience in the side, despite it being young,” he said.
“If you look at our midfield of Tom Casson, George Lowe, Ross Chisholm, Sam Smith and Luke Wallace – they have played a lot of rugby already because they have been thrust into that environment. We are excited for the club as a group.”