Conor O'Shea has turned down the opportunity to coach Italy. The Telegraph reported this morning that the Italian Rugby Federation had approached O'Shea about replacing Jacques Brunel for next year.
Brunel has coached Italy since the 2011 World Cup.
While Italy have achieved significant results in his tenure, including their first Six Nations victory over Ireland in 2013, the side's form has dipped in the past two years and his contract is not expected to be renewed.
O'Shea was top of their list but he is staying put.
It’s flattering, but no, I’m not going anywhere.
My job is here. It’s really nice to be mentioned like that, a massive honour, but my job is here and I want to make sure we continue it.
They’ve been on and talked to me, but that’s natural. That happens in every walk of life, that people ask questions. You’re always linked. There are England jobs, Ireland jobs, club jobs. And it’s very flattering, but my job is here, full stop. I have been approached but I’m sure they’re talking to a load of people and my job is here.
Interestingly, O'Shea scored Leinster's first ever try in the Heineken Cup back in 1995. They defeated Milan 24-21. He earned 35 caps for Ireland between 1993 and 1999, an experience which perhaps made him wary about taking charge of the Six Nations whipping boys.
Having served at Director of Rugby at London Irish during the early noughties (he played for the club during the nineties) he was appointed coach at Harlequins in the aftermath of the bloodgate scandal.
He guided Harlequins to the Premiership title in 2012. They beat Leicester 30-23 in the final. However, they have largely failed in the European Cup. In 2012-13, they ran riot in the pool stages but were stunningly beaten by an out-of-form Munster in the Stoop at the quarter-final stage.
They did not reach the European Rugby Champions Cup this year but their form in the Aviva Premiership is strong. They slaughtered London Irish 37-8 at the weekend.