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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Match Report: Heineken Cup action The Stoop

The first of Harlequins' pool games for this season's Heineken Cup started in explosive style yesterday.

The English Premiership winners of 2011-12 played host to French club Biarritz at The Stoop in Twickenham.

The first points came to the home side in the 7th minute after an infringement by the visitors handed Quins an attacking lineout.  Uncontested, they retained the ball and passed quickly allowing scrum-half Danny Care to cross for a try.  Evans converted and Quins found themselves 7-0 up.

Biarritz were given the opportunity to add points to their side of the board just three minutes later after Quins illegally entered the ruck from the side.  The opportunity was missed on this occasion but following continual offending by the home side, Biarritz had another shot between the posts, this time with success.

The visitors then found themselves down to 14 men for 10 minutes after Williams was tackled in the air.  WIth Quins' no. 10 Evans removed from the field due to an ankle injury, no. 22 Botica had to kick for the posts.  This he did just before the end of the first quarter, extending the home side's lead 10-3.

Biarritz stepped up a gear at this point and following a successful line-out kept numbers behind the ball.  They drove for the line and after an anxious wait the TMO acknowledged the try.  Converted, this levelled the game in the 24th minute.

Another three points were added apiece before half-time following infringements from both sides.

Half Time: Harlequins 13 - 13 Biarritz
If Quins were to make anything of this game they needed a quick score on the re-start.  The first-half was very tight but Biarritz looking the more menacing, often breaking through the first line of the Quins defence.

The home side did not disappoint.  Strong play in the scrum allowed them to retain the ball; grab and drive up to and over the try-line.  Buchanan the scorer, Botica adding the conversion.

Strong play by both teams followed, along with substitutions.  However continual pressure by Quins earned them a penalty in front of the posts - another 3 points added to the score.

Despite the points gap widening, Biarritz looked threatening.  Their pressure was always undone in the scrum where Quins dominated.  Once again a penalty was awarded to the home side and with the fans in the stadium spurring them on, they opted to kick from the half-way line.  A mammoth kick it was, but over it went.  Quins were now 13 points ahead of their guests.

Momentum was with the home side: a superb solo effort from Danny Care to break the Biarritz defence allowed Turner-Hall to cross for a try, once again converted by the Quins' no. 22.

13 minutes left of the game and Harlequins could almost touch victory.  They were now hungry for a bonus point.  2 minutes from time and Stegmann crossed for Quins' fourth try of the game, and fourth conversion.

The fans knew they had seen something special - chants and songs the likes of which The Stoop have not heard for some time.

Full Time: Harlequins 40 - 13 Biarritz
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 5:42 pm  

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