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Sunday, 20 December 2015

Nine-try victory for Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop

Going into this weekend Harlequins were top of the Pool 3 table having played 3, won 3; with 3 bonus points. Calvisano were propping up the table - no wins, no bonus points.

Following their 8 try victory over the Italians last week, Harlequins were looking to put in an equally strong performance. Charlie Matthews took to the field for his 100th game for the club and Wales international Jamie Roberts made his debut.

Calvisano kicked off proceedings. Quick work saw Quins race to the opposition try line; Yarde chasing a searching kick which eventually found its way into touch.

The visitors secured their line-out and cleared for a Quins line-out still in opposition territory.

Swiel attempted to keep the momentum going following a successful set play however his pass failed to find its planned target and went into touch.

A game of football ensued until Calvisano knocked-on whilst trying to gather a high-ball. Scrum then penalty to Quins on the half-way line.

They kicked for an attacking line-out but themselves knocked-on when trying to secure possession. This was fortuitous for Quins who dominated the set play and stole possession, making it into the opposition 22 before being brought down.

Play slowed as the forwards took their turn in driving the ball on, until Dave Ward missed a pass and knocked on, allowing Calvisano to clear.

Another penalty to the home side and Botica placed the ball neatly in the corner for a 10 metre line-out. It was thrown long, however the opposition were penalised. (Calvisano no. 7 Zdrilich was replaced due to injury after 9 minutes).

Scrum to Quins. The ball was fed but the Italians came away with the penalty; Quins failing to bind correctly.

The line-out was still in Calvisano's territory however the home side regained possession after the visitors were penalised at the break-down.
Quins fed the scrum, drove and attempted to break however play returned moments later after the referee played advantage. This time Botica kicked to the corner. Another attacking line-out.

Matthews secured the ball and a maul was formed. Ward tried to break away with the ball but was tackled. Play slowed until the ball was sent out to the wings. Calvisano defended well but were penalised for not rolling away.

Botica again kicked to the corner. Quins secured the ball and again drove for the line. The ball was recycled and Yarde crossed in the corner for the first points of the game after 15 minutes. Botica added the conversion: Harlequins 7 – 0 Calvisano.

(More injury concerns for the visitors as Minozzi left the field with his arm strapped up).

Quins were pushed back into their own 22 following the restart however soon made it back to the half-way line. Knock-on by the Italians handed a scrum to Quins just inside the visitor's half.

The dominance in this set play again earned the home side a penalty. They kicked for a line-out just outside the 22. They recycled the ball well and earned another penalty after Calvisano failed to roll away in the tackle. Another kick to the corner from Botica and another attacking line-out. It was again thrown towards the back and ended up with Calvisano in possession.

They box-kicked out and Quins were deemed to have knocked-on whilst gathering, although general feeling was the ball came off the boot.

The Italians maintained possession for their longest period this game and eventually kicked into touch in the home side's 22.

Quins secured line-out ball and Botica managed to cross the game line. The ball was then box-kicked on, Calvisano returned it allowing the home side to build their attack. Yarde again made a strong run along the wing but was tackled into touch before he could release the ball.

Calvisano were again penalised in the line-out for interfering and the home side got the put-in at the subsequent scrum.

Another penalty to Quins and Yarde made good strides. The visitors were again penalised and this time the referee showed the yellow card to Belardo after 29 minutes.

Quins opted for the scrum but lazy passing allowed Susio to intercept and run the length of the field for a try. Converted by Vlaicu levelling the scores: Harlequins 7 – 7 Calvisano.

The Twickenham Stoop quietened before shouts of 'playtime is over' was heard from the fans.

Calvisano failed to release a tackled player handing another penalty to the home side who again opted to run the ball. A knock-on handed a scrum to the visitors just outside their own 22.

Their possession did not last long as they knocked-on under tackle. The scrum was upgraded to a penalty to Quins. They made it back into the 22 before going into touch. The visitors secured line-out ball and placed it into touch, still within their own half. Quins again threw long but they retained possession until being penalised for holding-on in the ruck.

Calvisano kicked into touch for an attacking line-out in the Quins' 22. They secured ball and drove but it was stolen by the home side who made strides up the field. Buchanan got caught in possession but eventually support arrived. Advantage to Quins in the ruck and despite some good offloads, play was brought back. Sinckler crossed for a try under the posts at the stroke of half-time. Converted by Botica and Harlequins again pulled in front: Harlequins 14 – 7 Calvisano.

Half Time: Harlequins 14 – 7 Rugby Calvisano

The second half kicked off and Quins thought they had scored an early try within the 41st minute from a set piece scrum however it was denied and Calvisano were free to kick to safety.

This allowed the home side to regroup and attack again.

Another penalty to Quins and Botica found touch in the opposition half. Captain Jack Clifford was successful when he crossed the whitewash; Botica added the extra three points. Harlequins 21 – 7 Calvisano after 45miutes.

The restart was sent long and Quins ran it from inside their half. Superb link up by the squad allowed Yarde to offload to Chisholm for the 4th and bonus point try of the game. The conversion attempt was pushed across the face of the posts. Harlequins 26 – 7 Calvisano 48th minute.

Calvisano got their hands on the ball after Quins were penalised following the restart for holding onto the ball in the ruck. Despite trailing by 19 points the visitors opted for the posts and missed.

Quins kicked long and the Italians returned the ball.

In the ensuing play the home side knocked-on handing a scrum to the Italians. However possession was soon returned after Calvisano were penalised for failing to hit straight.
More misery for the visitors after they were again caught offside by the referee; Quins opted to run with the ball into the opposition 22. This tactic paid off and Jamie Roberts crossed on his debut for his first try in the Harlequins shirt. Conversion added. Harlequins 33 – 7 Calvisano after 55 minutes.

Following the restart the visitors made slow progress up the field. The Quins' defence was standing firm where as the Italians were looking tired. The home side stole possession and linked well, taking play into the opposition half.

Penalty to Quins as Calvisano were offside; Dickson took it quickly. They earned a scrum deep in the opposition half.

More positive work between Botica and Chisholm kept the fans' spirits high however the winger spilled the ball as he was tackled attempting to cross the whitewash.

Calvisano needed to put in a strong performance in the set piece however the referee blew for a Quins penalty which they took quickly and passed out to Walker who was in prime position to take it straight to ground. Converted from a difficulty angle: Harlequins 40 – 7 Calvisano after 63 minutes.

Following the restart Quins kicked it back long forcing the visitors to back-peddle quickly. They reached the ball first but a poor kick sliced into touch put the pressure straight back on Calvisano. Quins took a quick line-out and this tactic almost worked except for a miss pass from Botica who had done well to break through the defence.

Botica did, however, get his well deserved try just a few minutes later. He converted it and extended the home side's lead: Harlequins 47 – 7 Calvisano with 13 minutes left to play.

The restart fell just outside the Quins' 22. Chisholm put on a powerful show as he pulled away from the Italians, ran the length of the field and unselfishly passed to Swiel shortly before the try line as the defence moved in. Conversion missed. Harlequins 52 – 7 Calvisano with 11 minutes remaining.

Quins were hungry for more as they chased their kicks, putting pressure on the Italians and achieving turnover ball.

Ward attempted an up-and-under however this was easily claimed by the visitors who themselves ran the field in search of a second try. They were brought down in the 22 and possession changed hands to the home side. Karl Dickson then crossed the whitewash at the other end of the field. Botica converted: Harlequins 59 – 7 Calvisano with 7 minutes left.

The visitors kept the restart short in an attempt at reclaiming the ball and under pressure Quins knocked-on.

Despite pressure from the home side in the scrum Calvisano emerged with the ball. They sent it out to the wing but Quins knocked it into touch.

Calvisano retained possession from the scrum and then earned a penalty, kicking to the corner.

It was a good steal by Quins and they made another strong break back up the field.

Another yellow card was issued to the visitors (Zanetti).

Penalty to Calvisano and they took it quickly. Another penalty and they opted to run as the clock had gone red. The visitors made little progress and Quins eventually took control and saw an opportunity, running the ball rather than kicking it out of play.

Exciting play by the home side however their determination in this last play came to nothing.

Full-Time: Harlequins 59 – 7 Rugby Calvisano

Attendance: 11,230
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 9:53 pm  

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