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Conor O'Shea likes to add balance to the Popey/Hook sandwich.
Conor O'Shea likes to add balance to the Popey/Hook sandwich.
Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

‘George Hook called me a rhinoceros on dope’ – Conor O’Shea

The Harlequins director of rugby has been the voice of reason on the RTÉ rugby panel for a decade.
Nov 18th 2012, 9:20 AM 3,843 0

CONOR O’SHEA IS now in his 10th season on the RTÉ panel for international rugby matches and describes it as the perfect therapy for a frustrated armchair commentator.

O’Shea, who coached Harlequins to the Aviva Premiership title last season, took his place on the panel, alongside Tom McGurk, George Hook and Brent Pope shortly after a knee injury ended his playing career.

“I love the TV work,” he told ”I’ve been doing it for a decade now. I’d like to think that I bring some balance to it.”

“My wife says that every time I watch a game, I talk my way through it so it’s probably good that I’ve found an outlet for it.”

O’Shea is frequently called upon to add some clarity to proceedings after Hook has bemoaned Jamie Heaslip or Gordon D’Arcy too vociferously or Pope has referenced an Otago player he packed down with in the 1980s.

When asked if he takes heed of the bombast and bluster, O’Shea said, “George Hook called me a rhinoceros on dope before.

He has his style of analysis but he has a huge and vast knowledge of the game and has been involved in it for a long time.”

“Brent is nice and sane,” O’Shea added.

O’Shea avoids the pre-match distractions before an away match against Saracens. (Stephen Pond/EMPICS Sport)

Scene of a crime

Under O’Shea this season, Harlequins are top of the Premiership and unbeaten in the Heineken Cup.

He was delighted with his side’s 30-22 win over Connacht at the Sportsground last month – avenging a loss against Eric Elwood’s men in January – and is preparing Quins for a double-header against Zebre in December.

“We took our chances,” O’Shea said of the win. “We didn’t the year before.

I thought Connacht played better rugby than they did last year when they beat us. It’s a tough place to go and they were massively up for the game.

“People read a lot into predications but there is no massive difference between most sides. It is about taking your chances. Danny Care took his and Ben [Botica] converted his.

“It was, as I called it, like revisiting the scene of a crime.”

“We’ve had a decent start and have Zebre home and away. We know that they’ll be up for their games against the English champions,” he added.

“The different competitions are fun. If we can put out our best team on the park we’re a match for anybody.”

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Patrick McCarry


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