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Saturday, 16 February 2013

Full-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins vs Leicester Tigers

Half-time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 12 - 18 Leicester Tigers.

The first half of the game was hard fought but the Tigers gained the advantage.

They kicked off the second half and Quins' Danny Care caught the ball, sending it into touch within their own territory.  Quins kept possession well until the decision to send the ball high backfired with Tigers collecting.  They pushed on towards the Quins' 5 metre line.

However Tigers were penalised and Quins kicked into touch, regaining the line-out ball.  Play continued with the ball being kicked from one end of the field to the other.  Tigers earned the put-in at a scrum but good pressure from the home side forced the visitors to act quickly.  They cleared their lines.

Play settled with fast hands passing the ball until Quins' no. 8 Guest made a thumping tackle.  The home side made turnover ball and after infringement from the Tigers, Danny Care took a quick penalty tap and ran  across the line for a try.  A conversion added by Botica put the Quins in front for the first time in the game, ten minutes into the second half.

The fans were loud and urged their team on.

The restart was sent long, collected by Quins, who in turn sent it back down the field.  This time the Tigers chose to run it.  They earned themselves a line-out but Quins remained strong in play and achieved another turnover ball.  In a strange moment of play they chose to kick high but nobody made a real attempt to chase.  The Tigers took possession but again did not make the most of it, chipping through for an easy Quins' pick-up.

The home side earned a penalty which they kicked into touch.  Once ball was back in play the Tigers again made errors knocking-on, allowing Quins the put-in at a scrum.   This advantage amounted to nothing as they lost possession.

The Tigers decided to test the nerve of Quins' no. 11 Monye with a long kick.  The ball-handling skills of Monye were never in doubt - a confident take.  They kept possession, earning a scrum and had a good period of passing, eventually chipping through.  Although the Tigers collected, the quick pace of the chasing pack forced the visitors to rush their kick, slicing it into touch deep within the Tigers' territory.

The Quins' line-out was good and advantage was given following infringements from the visitors.  They Tigers were forced to hunt as a pack to bring down the Quins' team who marched on with belief.

With a quarter of the game remaining Botica pulled Quins another three points clear of the Tigers with a penalty through the posts.

This spurred on the visitors and the Quins' fans were holding their breath after Leicester's no. 10 Toby Flood chipped though the home side's defence.  Quins retrieved the ball but rushed their clearance leaving Tigers with an attacking platform.

The visitors wasted the opportunity after an unfortunate knock-on.  Keen to get the ball away from the try line, Quins kicked into touch albeit still within their own territory.

The line-out ball was secured by Quins, a maul formed and Care performed a box-kick which went long but into the waiting Tigers' hands.  A game of football then ensued with the ball being kicked back and forth until the Tigers misjudged and sent the ball dead.

Quins had the scrum and a good period of play followed.  Adding to the intensity of play the visitors were again penalised and another scrum was awarded to the home side, followed by another penalty.  Care again took it quickly.  The ball was passed out wide and run over the line however another visit by the referee Wayne Barnes to the TMO disallowed the try with accusations of obstruction.

The pressure was put straight back onto the Quins after Flood sent the ball deep into their half for a line-out.  The home side fought hard to regain possession but were penalised for holding on.  Flood added another three points to Leicester's score bringing them within one point of Quins.

The re-start ball was claimed by the Tigers and kicked long.  Quins returned it high and the visitors collected but were pushed into touch by a fast chasing pack.  Despite this good attacking platform, the Tigers' line-out was strong.  Another period of play ensued where the ball was kicked from end to end.

A scrum formed, this time with the Tigers' put-in.  They kept possession and Flood, again looking dangerous, attempted another chip through defence.  A race was on for the ball but it bounced into touch offering an attacking platform 5 metres from the Quins' try line.  The visitors wasted the opportunity to fight for the ball after being penalised for obstructing play.

Quins sent the ball into rouch within the Tigers' half.

Momentum was now with the home side.  They kept possession in the line-out and kicked the ball high, earning themselves a scrum after the visitors mishandled the ball.

The Tigers were penalised again for raising the scrum handing Botica the opportunity to add yet more points to the Quins scorecard.  They were now four points clear with two minutes left.

Quins reclaimed the ball on the restart and earned yet another penalty which they kicked into touch to run down the clock.  All they had to do now was play with calm heads.  They won line-out ball and kept possession until time was up.

A very hard but well fought victory for Harlequins.  This win has taken them back to the top of the premiership table.

This was a very strong performance from a side who have had to grow in stature quickly.  Many of their first-team players remain in the England squad.  A warning to other teams - this Harlequins' side means business.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop:  Harlequins 25 - 21 Leicester Tigers.

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:25 pm  

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