Disappointed Conor O'Shea praises Harlequins' character

(Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images for Harlequins)

Outgoing Harlequins director of rugby Conor O'Shea was left "incredibly disappointed" by their Challenge Cup defeat to Montpellier but paid tribute to his side's character as they attempted to fight their way back into the game.

Quins lost 26-19 to Montpellier but were at one stage trailing by 17 points before they managed to get back within a converted try in the final throes of the match. Despite rallying, Quins were unable to pin back Montpellier meaning there would be no winning farewell for O'Shea who now leaves Harlequins to take charge of Italy.

"The guys never stopped trying to the bitter end," O'Shea told Sky Sports post-match. "We didn't control the breakdown and that was the winning and losing of the match. We had a couple of opportunities, the margins are small and they were the better side on the night. The guys are devastated at the way our season has unfolded as we started so well but I leave behind a great bunch of fellas.

"They are devastated for a multitude of reasons but I'm incredibly proud of what we've done over the number of years and what they've contributed. I'm proud of a very committed bunch of guys. Even at 26-9 they never folded.

"I'm incredibly disappointed and you don't want the last emotion to be the one you've felt over the last couple of weeks but that doesn't take away from what we've achieved and where this club is going."

It has been a terribly difficult week for Harlequins after confirmation came earlier in the week that their young forward Seb Adeniran-Olule had been killed in a car accident. The Harlequins players wore his initials on their shirt and O'Shea praised their character.

"This club has given me more than I could ever give to it," O'Shea added. "The supporters have been amazing as have the players but we're very disappointed at the moment.

"We've got a tight bunch and it shows their character. We've got guys like Nick Easter, Robshaw, Danny Care, Mike Brown are fellas that I care about massively.

"We lost one of ours this week and we're all going to be upset about that for a long time to come but I'm proud of every single player that's pulled on a Harlequins jersey every time they go on the pitch."