White out to deny O'Shea glorious send-off


Montpellier head coach Jake White is plotting to deny Conor O'Shea a triumphant end to his Harlequins tenure in Friday's European Rugby Challenge Cup final at Grand Stade de Lyon.

Quins director of rugby O'Shea will end his six-year stay at the London club to take charge of Italy after the showdown with the Top 14 high-flyers.

While Montpellier are in the hunt for a domestic and European double, Quins could only finish seventh in the Premiership and must beat White's formidable side in order to secure a place in the European Champions Cup next season.

White masterminded South Africa's World Cup triumph in 2007 and the 52-year-old is determined to be the man to bring the first European trophy to Montpellier.

He said: "Even though I have won a World Cup, winning the Challenge Cup is still a progression for me. It is another opportunity for me to make sure that the players understand the pressure, that they learn to play under pressure, to handle that pressure.

"It is a good opportunity to measure ourselves. Harlequins have won this competition three times, each time against a French team, often winning at the last minute. I know we will have to play a full 80 minutes, and the bench will have to perform."

Demetri Catrakilis has been given the nod at fly-half for Montpellier with Francois Trinh-Duc not fully fit. George Lowe and Tim Visser return to the Quins side after recovering from injuries with Ben Botica starting on the bench against the club he is set to join for next season.

Quins have won all three finals against French clubs in Europe's secondary club competition, but South African White is backing his big-game players to rise to the occasion.

"It is more comfortable to prepare for a final when you have match-winners, those guys who know how to win." he added.

"That is why I picked them. You asked if some of the decisions were difficult, but the factor for me is picking players who can play, who can win, who understand the systems."

Quins were rocked by the news that their 20-year-old prop Seb Adeniran-Olule died in a road accident this week and there will be a minute's silence before kick-off as a mark of respect.

Both sets of players will wear black armbands in memory of Adeniran-Olule following his tragic passing.