Director of rugby Conor O’Shea says the time is right to quit Harlequins.

The Premiership winning coach, who has long been touted as a future replacement for Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt, will call it a day when his contract expires at the end of this season.

O'Shea has lifted the Premiership, LV=Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup crowns during his six years at Quins, who currently sit in the top flight's top four and are through to the knockout stages of the European Challenge Cup.

The club has spent much of this season pinning down the likes of England squad members Mike Brown, Jack Clifford, Joe Marler, captain Danny Care, Marland Yarde and Chris Robshaw down to contract extensions.

Quins have a young squad which is set to peak in the coming seasons, but the Stoop chief, who turned down and approach from Italy before Christmas, will not be at the helm to see them flourish.

“I will have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to contribute to this special club for over six years come May," he said. 

"I have enjoyed working with everybody at Harlequins, from the players to the staff to the supporters, having said that, the end of this season is the right time for me to move on.

“We have a very talented group of players and coaches who are intent on securing silverware this season and that is my sole focus and where all our efforts are concentrated.

"I will say my goodbyes when the season is over.”

Quins chief executive David Ellis, who has already begun the process of finding O'Shea's replacement, added: “All of us at the club are of course disappointed that Conor will be leaving us at the end of this season.

“Conor took over as director of rugby after a difficult period in our history.

"Under his leadership and through his determination, energy and positive approach he has helped restore pride in our famous shirt and rejuvenate the playing style for which we are known.

"His passion for the game, for the club and for the squad he has built is there for all to see.

“On behalf of all of us associated with Harlequins I would like to thank Conor for his tireless and selfless commitment over the last six years, guiding us through our most successful period on the field.

“Conor will leave the club in a significantly better place than he found us and for that we are all grateful to him.

“We all wish him and his family good fortune and every success in the future.

"There will always be a warm welcome for Conor at The Stoop.”