O’Shea ready for Quins’ Wembley clash

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea is targeting victory in this weekend’s Wembley showdown with Saracens to maintain their push for a top-four spot.

An 80,000-plus crowd will see Quins begin their final assault on the Premiership play-offs against second-placed Sarries.

England stars Chris Robshaw, Danny Care and Mike Brown – who all played starring roles in the Six Nations – will sit out the match but will return for next Saturday’s home clash with London Irish.

After three weeks without a league game, Quins could barely face a tougher return to action.

Saracens have lost just twice in the league this season and O’Shea knows the task facing his side.

He said: “It’s an exciting challenge. We want to be top four and we know, on our day, we can beat anybody.

“Obviously Saracens are the form side but we know that we can really build now.

“Everyone knows the issues we’ve had with injuries and unavailability and we’ve fought tooth and nail to stay where we are.

“We’ve got a load of players to come back in from the injury table as well.

“I’m looking forward to it, I think we all are. It starts with this game and then we’re just going to fight [in] every single game.”

With six rounds of matches to play, Sarries, along with leaders Northampton, look assured of a Premiership semi-final spot.

In a tight race for the other two berths, fifth-placed Quins are currently four points adrift of Leicester and Bath and have Sale breathing down their necks, while O’Shea is not ruling Wasps and Exeter out of the equation.

He said: “We’d love to be up the top like Northampton and Saracens but this is going to be a fight to the absolute end between six teams, all the way down to Exeter.

“It’s not beyond the realms [of possibility] that they go on a run as well. People might laugh at that but everyone is going to beat each other.

“Hopefully it’ll come down to those last couple of games of the season and I know what we’re like in one-offs.”

It is hoped the crowd for Saturday’s game may be even larger than the 83,761 who watched Quins beat Saracens at Wembley in 2012, a world record attendance for a club match.

And O’Shea is relishing the prospect of walking out at Wembley once more.

He said: “It might not be the twin towers of old which people grew up watching but the new Wembley’s an incredible stadium to play in.”

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