New Harlequins rugby director Conor O'Shea said the chance of working in top-flight rugby union again was too good to turn down. He is currently national director at the English Institute of Sport (EIS) but has held high-profile roles in rugby before, including as director of rugby at London Irish and national academy director of the Rugby Football Union. "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at the EIS and it is a shame that I will be moving on at such an exciting and challenging time for the organisation and for sport in this country," he said. "But, plain and simply, my passion lies with rugby and my desire to influence at the sharp end of the game has never diminished.
"So, when approached by Harlequins, a club with an exciting squad, a committed and talented group of coaches and support staff and a stable business model to underpin long-term success, I knew it was a challenge I had to take on." The 39-year-old will head up Quins' existing coaching staff of John Kingston, Colin Osborne and Tony Diprose. Head coach Kingston recently agreed a new contract but Diprose was thought to be among the contenders for the job alongside British & Irish Lions chief Ian McGeechan.
O'Shea will fill the post vacated by Dean Richards, who resigned earlier this year, and will begin working with the side in March. Quins chief executive Mark Evans said: "After a thorough search, the board are delighted to have secured Conor's services. "He combines international playing experience with a proven managerial track record in rugby and elsewhere. "We are very confident he has the skill-set we were looking for and will dovetail extremely well with our current playing and management staff."
* With agencies