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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Harlequins defeated by Exeter Chiefs

A chilly afternoon at the Twickenham Stoop. Cloudy with a hint of blue sky. The atmosphere was an interesting one with the need for Quins fans to see their team perform but an uncertainty as to whether that would happen against Exeter.

The stadium went wild as Harlequins Captain Nick Easter lead his team on to the field, fresh from his try for England in the 6 Nations last week.

The Chiefs kicked off proceedings and Quins sent the ball into touch just over the half way line.

Exeter's no.15 Dollman took a high ball well and ran at the defence. The ball found touch. Quins won their line-out and passed wide to Charlie Walker who made a good run along the touch line. The ball headed back to the opposite touch line but was knocked-on for an Exeter scrum, still inside their own half. The Quins scrum was strong but it was Exeter who were awarded the penalty. They found touch just inside their own half and secured line-out ball.

They opted to kick a high ball which Quins collected and sent back. A game of football ensued until Evans sent the ball high again forcing Exeter to knock-on in their attempt to gather.

Scrum to Harlequins deep in the visitor's half.

Quins recycled the ball quickly and teased the try-line. A yellow card was issued to Exeter's no. 14 Ian Whitten with 8 minutes gone. Evans opted for the posts and, with their help, the ball bounced through for an early 3 point lead.

The re-start ball was taken well by Monye and Exeter had a line-out in their own half. Clifford stole the ball in the breakdown and Quins pushed their way into the opposition 22. They came close to the line but an attempted offload was intercepted by Exeter who kicked to safely.

The Chiefs secured a line-out and attempted to kick. It was charged down and Evans kicked through. It was a race to the try-line. Evans landed on the ball but the decision was sent upstairs to the TMO (Television Match Official). The decision went against Quins.

A scum formed in the Chief's 22. Care retrieved the ball quickly. He sent it wide to Yarde who was taken into touch. The clock was stopped as the tackle on Yarde was questioned. He was barged into touch as opposed to tackled. Exeter Chiefs no. 15 Phil Dollman was sent to the sin-bin after 15 minutes but no penalty try was given.

Within one minute of the restart Evans crossed for a try with Walker on hand on the wing if another body was required, making use of the two-man advantage over Exeter. Evans was unable to convert his own try, sending the ball across the face of the posts. The home side were, however, 8-0 up after 18 minutes.

On the re-start Quins were penalised and Exeter started off their points tally with an easy penalty: 8-3.

Chiefs felt the need to kick away possession, seemingly unable to break the Quins defence. However the home side were forced to defend a line-out in their own 22. Robson secured the ball and an attempted box-kick by Care was charged down by Ben White. He gathered the ball and scored a try.

After 23 minutes Exeter Chiefs found themselves 8-10 in the lead against the run of play and still a man down.

Another game of football ensued until the Chiefs kicked it into touch on the full.

Quins secured line-out ball but a penalty was awarded to Exeter after Yarde was deemed to have held onto the ball.

Miscommunication by Quins saw two players jump for the same ball and foul. Luckily for the home fans the penalty was missed.

Quins found themselves under pressure again – a line-out gathered by the visitors and another opportunity for points between the posts after the home side failed to release a tackled player.

Exeter extended their lead 8-13 after 31 minutes.

Scrum to Quins following the restart after the Chiefs knocked-on. The home fans tried to raise their voices in support of their team but the atmosphere was one of shock. After such a strong commanding start there was disbelief as to how Quins found themselves behind.

Evans earned a kick between the posts and with 7 minutes left of the first half Quins had clawed themselves back to a 2 point deficit: 11-13.

Following the restart Quins formed a powerful maul, making strides up the field. It was then sent wide to Walker and back in again to Monye who was penalised for holding on.

With 5 minutes left of the first half Ewers was replaced by Johnson in a Blood Substitution for Exeter Chiefs.

The clock resumed and the Chiefs secured their line-out on Quins' 22. They sent it to the far wing and although they crossed the line a scrum was awarded to the home side for a forward pass.

Following a fumble by Yarde, however, the Chiefs got the put-in just 5 metres from the try-line.

The Harlequins fans raised their voices but were silenced after a collapsed scrum again went the way of the visitors. This time it was upgraded to a penalty and the war chants of the visitors resounded around the stadium.

Slade added the three points to the scoreboard for Exeter, ending the first half.

Half Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 11 – 16 Exeter Chiefs

The fans once again raised their voices at the start of the second half, attempting to spur on their respective teams for the second half.

Evans kicks off and sent it long. Chiefs returned the ball and the pattern continued as the sides attempted to get back into the game. Play was halted within the opening minute for treatment to Chiefs' Ben Moon, replaced by Carl Rimmer with a touching apology from Monye as he walked off the field.

Play resumed with a scrum to Chiefs inside their own half. They box-kicked out; Evans sent it back. They came again but Quins stole turnover ball. Evans broke, chipped through, collected but was brought down before the line.

The ball was sent back to Monye who fumbled but knocked it backwards keeping possession for the home side. It was not long before Chiefs stole the ball and broke along the wing. Waldrom crossed for a try which was awarded by the referee however the touch judge spotted a forward pass and the referee reviewed it with the TMO. No try.

Casson went off for a head injury check and Botica came on as his temporary replacement for Harlequins with 36 minutes left on the clock.

There was another momentary pause in play as the referee needed his radio adjusting, and a tucking in from Dave Ward which brought some light relief to an uneasy supporter base.

Play resumed with a scrum to Quins who retrieved quickly. They made strides down the right wing then sent it to the left. Evans attempted a kick and found space. The Chiefs fumbled on the line but the ball went backwards and they were able to box-kick out. They only reached as far as Evans and Quins came again.

A penalty was awarded against Lambert for not releasing, allowing the visitors to clear and Exeter replaced Dollman for McGuigan with 32 minutes left.

Harlequins won their line-out ball just inside the Chiefs' half, they lost possession but it was not long before Exeter sent it back. Yarde fumbled on another attack allowing Exeter to clear their lines. Quins attacked again but to no avail. Exeter decided to keep ball in hand and their no. 10 Slade crossed for a try and converted it: 11-23 with 30 minutes left.

Evans got play underway again and Exeter gathered. They chipped over and then knocked-on handing a scrum to Quins: Talei came on for Matthews and Casson stayed off with Botica remaining on: 28 minutes left.

Botica crossed the game line. The ball was passed out to the wing. Good work between Monye and Yarde but a knock-on handed a scrum to the Chiefs deep within their own half. Quins overpowered them but Clifford was penalised.

Another scrum was then awarded to Chiefs and another round of replacements for Harlequins (Monye off/Lindsay-Hague with 25 minutes left).

Quins regained possession and with advantage being played they started to make their way up the field. No real territory was gained and so play was brought back for a shot at the posts. Evans was successful: 14-23 with 22 minutes left.

The restart ball was collected well by Botica but a penalty is awarded to the Chiefs right in front of the posts for obstruction by Ward.

Within less than a minute Exeter had cancelled out the Quins' penalty.

The Harlequins fans started cheering 'we want Barnes' – referring to the fourth match official Wayne Barnes, who is usually the target of negative chanting by the home fans. This in itself highlighted the emotions being felt by the home supporters in The Stoop.

Another penalty to Chiefs and another 3 points to their scoreboard: 14-29.

The restart was taken well by the Chiefs and after a brief football exchange between the two sides Exeter kicked into touch. It was taken quickly but wasted as again possession was kicked back to the visitors.

The Chiefs themselves soon handed possession back and Lindsay-Hague with Walker decided to keep ball in hand and run with it making substantial ground.

Advantage was being played and a penalty given. Scrum to Quins and Lees replaced Welch for the visitors.

Fans tried to raise their voices but it was laboured. Good fast hands by Quins saw the ball passed quickly to the wing, then brought back inside. Walker ran at speed into the defence but could not break through. Advantage was given to the Chiefs who kicked away possession allowing Quins to come again.

Play had become laboured. The ball was being passed but at a slow pace, not challenging the defence. Penalty to Quins after Chiefs failed to release a tackled player and they took it quickly. Advantage was being played but it was not necessary: Matt Hopper dived for the line and even though the tackled player ended up in touch Hopper was aware enough to keep his legs in the air as he placed the ball over the try line. Converted: 21-29.

Care was replaced by Dickson; Wallace went off for Trayfoot with 10 minutes left.
No sooner had play resumed than Exeter had another penalty and another 3 points. 21-32.

The restart was taken quickly and the Chiefs returned the ball. Quins were now keeping ball in hand earning a scrum. Lambert flicked it back to Dickson who struggled to take it cleanly. It was then kicked too long, running behind the try-line for 22 drop-out.

Play was now agonising for the Quins fans but their team secured line-out ball back in the Chiefs 22. Yarde was taken into touch but the referee was playing advantage. He brought play back to the original penalty but with just 4 minutes left they opted for a line-out. It was gathered and a rolling maul powered over the line. The referee blew for a scrum to Quins believing the ball was held up.

They came again. Advantage to Quins which was then changed to a penalty just as Yarde received the ball and headed for the line.

Dickson took the penalty quickly and another foul is made by the visitors. A yellow card was issued to Waldrom but no penalty try. Quins opted for a line-out with less than two minutes left. Scrum to Quins 5 metres out. It was then reset as the clock continued to count down.

They get the ball out and worked as a team however the Chiefs stole possession and kicked into touch to end the game.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter Chiefs

Not even a losing bonus point for the hosts who find themselves slipping to 9th in the Premiership table.

Next week Harlequins travel to league leaders Northampton Saints.

14800 attendance.
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 6:00 pm  

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