When these two teams met last week in Romania, Harlequins
put on a dominant display with a 42-3 win over Timisoara Saracens – a club new
to this competition.
Heading into this weekend, Harlequins were second in their
pool behind Edinburgh Rugby but the highest second-placed side in the
A mist had descended on South-West London. An eerie atmosphere filled the Twickenham
Stoop but the fans cheered their teams out onto the floodlit battlefield.
Quins kicked off proceedings and had the put-in at the first
scrum of the game within the opening minute just outside the visitors’ 22.
Early on the chants of ‘Harlequins’ sounded from the
stands. Yarde made a wonderful dash
through the defence before eventually being brought down in a thumping
tackle. It was deemed both high and
dangerous, earning Timisoara’s Randall Morrison a straight red with just two
minutes on the clock.
Harlequins, now a player up on the opposition, lost the
following scrum, handing over a penalty.
The Romanians made it over the half-way line and were awarded another
penalty. They opted for the posts
however the ball fell both short and wide.
A good restart by the hosts saw Chisholm kick the ball on
instead of attempting to catch it with Marland Yarde up in support. The Romanians made it back in time to tackle
and turnover the ball before kicking into touch. They won the line-out but Wallace intercepted
on the far wing and ran over the whitewash for the first points of the
game. Jackson added the conversion:
Harlequins 7 – 0 Timisoara Saracens after 8 minutes.
10 minutes: Timisoara Saracens replacement Florina Popa on
for Paula Kinikinilau.
Play continued with a line-out to Quins which was taken
well. They quickly sent the ball out
wide but were penalised in the impending ruck for holding on.
The Romanians found touch in the hosts half, had the ball
slapped down to them but knocked-on handing another scrum to the hosts. Meanwhile coaching could be heard from the
side-lines as Timisoara water-boys were shouting ‘no more kicking’ to their
The scrum was upgraded to a penalty for Quins who found
touch on the 22.
The line-out was messy but they retained possession. They opted to grab and drive until Brown
danced passed a couple of tackles. The
hosts pushed up to 10 metres from the try line before losing the ball and time
was stopped for treatment to Jackson.
Play resumed with a scrum, Timisoara with the put-in. They handled the situation well and attempted
to run from deep; the Quins defence forcing them to box-kick. It made little distance handing the hosts an
attacking platform. The ball reached the
arms of Visser who darted through the Romanians and over the try line. Jackson
lined up the posts and added the two points.
Harlequins doubled their lead: Harlequins 14 – 0 Timisoara Saracens after
The restart went straight into touch and so Quins ran the
ball back to the half-way line. A lapse
in communication saw the hosts knock-on when resuming play, handing a scrum to
the visitors. Timisoara again attempted
to break the defensive line through force but Quins were up to the challenge
and earned the put-in at the scrum. Possession
was, however, short-lived as the hosts again knocked-on
The supporters attempted to get a positive atmosphere
resonating around The Stoop and it had an impact as the hosts earned a penalty
and took it quickly. The ball again made
its way to the far wing and Jamie Roberts added his name to the scorecard. Another conversion from the boot of Jackson:
Harlequins 21 – 0 Timisoara Saracens after 23 minutes.
The restart was knocked-on by Quins and Timisoara had an
attacking platform. The hosts, however,
turned over possession and attempted to run from deep before Brown kicked long
for territory. The plan worked as Quins
regained the ball, only to lose it again in another knock-on within the
The Romanians decided in a quick scrum, releasing the ball
and kicking for touch. Quins returned
the favour and earned a penalty against the offside Timisoara. Despite this being in front of the posts,
Jackson kicked for the corner. It was a
well-worked set-piece. The line-out was
secure, passed to Care who offloaded to a speeding Roberts, crashing over the
try line, securing the bonus point. Jackson again adding the conversion (4 out of
4): Harlequins 28 – 0 Timisoara Saracens 30 minutes.
The visitors earned advantage as Quins strayed offside and
attempted to break the defence by running head-on into them. After a few phases the referee blew for the
penalty. Timisoara opted for a line-out
but did not make any real distance in their kick. Another faulty line-out followed. It landed on the side of Timisoara yet
Sinckler was able to steal possession.
Following a moment of madness with the ball bouncing off both sides,
Saracens kicked into touch.
Another good break from Sinckler and a pass wide saw Brown
roll over the try line under tackle.
Full marks for Jackson: Harlequins 35 – 0 Timisoara Saracens 36 minutes.
The restart was gathered well by Roberts and Jackson kicked
for territory. The Romanians returned
the ball and Quins opted to run. Jackson
attempted a cross-field kick but it was gathered well by the opposition. They attempted a grubber kick but it was
simple to gather. The ball was sent out
to the near wing where Yarde was still desperate to get on the scorecard after
being pivotal in the game thus far. He
was bundled into touch just short of the line.
Saracens kept line-out possession and kicked for touch,
handing the ball back to the hosts.
Timisoara turned-over the ball and kicked into touch to end the first
half. The hosts had already earned a
Half Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 35 – 0
Ahead of the second-half whistle, Timisoara Saracens
replaced fall-back Stephen Shennan with Marius Simionescu.
The referee blew to begin the second half but it did not
start well for the visitors who were offside at kick-off. Scrum to Quins but then a penalty was awarded
to the Romanians. They then knocked-on
under tackle and play continued with Quins in possession. They kicked for touch in opposition
Timisoara took the line-out well and almost broke through
the Quins defence. Jackson crashed in a
heap on the floor grabbing his ankle and play was halted. The fly-half, who had kicked an impressive
100% of his conversions, was assisted from the field. Swiel replaced him (43 minutes).
Play resumed with a scrum to Harlequins just inside the
opposition half. Care fed the scrum and
they powered on forward earning a penalty which Swiel placed into touch in
Quins kept possession; Chisholm earned the hosts a penalty
and Care acted quickly. The ball found
Yarde who finally placed his name on the scorecard. The pressure was now on Swiel to keep up the
100% conversion rate which Jackson begun.
Swiel did not disappoint: Harlequins 42 – 0 Timisoara Saracens.
Cries of ‘Harlequins’ resonated around the Twickenham Stoop
as play restarted and on gaining possession, Quins attempted to run from
deep. Eventually they kicked for territory,
allowing Timisoara to run the ball back.
Quins stole possession but carried out a forward pass whilst juggling
A job well done and the Harlequins captain and scrum-half
Danny Care was replaced by Karl Dickson.
Meanwhile Timisoara Saracens replaced most of their front row on 49
minutes. Their scrum-half Conache also
left the field as did winger Tangimana.
Play resumed with a penalty to Quins and then Timisoara
illegally stole the ball in the ruck. Another penalty and Swiel found touch in the
The visitors completed their front-row change with Gigi
Militaru on for Aholelei after 51 minutes.
Joe Marchant made way for Alofa Alofa three minutes later for the hosts.
Quins retained possession and formed a driving maul. Timisoara ripped the ball and stole
possession. After trying to run from
deep they were forced to kick. Quins
came again and earned advantage for offside.
Play returned to the scene of the crime and Swiel again found touch with
a 10 metre line-out.
It was taken well and the pack made its way towards the
whitewash: Clifford with the try.
Conversion added: Harlequins 49 – 0 Timisoara Saracens (55 minutes).
Play resumed and the hosts were caught offside handing a
penalty to Timisoara. This time they opted
for the posts. A rousing cheer came from
the stands – an acknowledgement of the work the visitors put in to the game as
3 points started their scorecard: Harlequins 49 – 3 Timisoara Saracens (58
Timisoara were determined to break the Quins’ defence on
foot and slowly the hosts were pushed back into their own half.
Sinckler stole possession in the ruck and made a break for
it. The ball was then kicked for a chase
but returned by Timisoara who found touch.
Brown took a quick line-out and before long the ball was back in
Roberts’ hands who crossed for a hat-trick.
Swiel added the conversion: Harlequins 56 – 3 Timisoara Saracens.
Double replacement for Timisoara with Drenceanu and Ianus coming
off for Muresan and Marian. Ward replaced Buchanan for Quins. 61 minutes.
Timisoara played with great heart and put their bodies on
the line to break the defence yet by keeping ball in hand they opened
themselves up to turnovers. The ball was
stolen by Quins and Yarde got his second try of the game. Conversion added: Harlequins 63 - 3 Timisoara
Saracens (64 minutes).
The visitors kicked the re-start ball long and Quins
returned it. A game of football ensued
until Brown attempted to run. A high
tackle handed Quins a penalty which they duly kicked into touch.
Matthews again secured line-out ball however a lapse in
concentration by the hosts handed possession to the opposition on the half-way
line. It was not long before the hosts
got turn-over ball and selfless play saw Visser on the wing pass to Wallace who
in turn passed to Brown allowing him a brace of tries. Another conversion: Harlequins 70 – 3
Chisholm came off for Mat Luamanu’s first outing since the
New Zealander’s 5-week suspension (68 minutes).
Once again play resumed and Timisoara earned a line-out just
inside the hosts 22. They secured possession and attempted to run with ball in
hand. Quins, however, pushed them
back. The visitors were forced to kick
and Brown claimed the high-ball.
After another aerial battle the ball found touch. Line-out to the hosts was taken well by
Wallace but a penalty was awarded to the visitors who kicked for territory and another
line-out in Quins’ half. They claimed
possession and ran, quickly gaining ground.
Timisoara then earned a penalty and kicked for a line-out. Dangerous territory for Quins.
The visitors earned advantage before the referee blew his
whistle and returned play to the scene of the penalty. Timisoara kicked for the touchline again for
another line-out. Brown was now Harlequins
captain and as such he was called over by the referee and asked to calm down
the team. This had a positive effect on
the hosts as they dug deep and defended well, stealing possession and
box-kicking to safety.
Play was halted and Timisoara Saracens treated their injured
players. Luamanu, himself in a dazed
state following a clash of heads, was shown a red card for a perceived
dangerous tackle and walked from the field.
The teams were now both down to 14-men.
Play resumed with a penalty to Timisoara and they again
kicked for a line-out. They secured
possession in the set-piece but it was the hosts who were awarded a scrum.
Cheers resonated as Quins secured the ball and ran along the
wing however possession was stolen by the visitors; reclaimed by the hosts just
seconds later. Penalty to Quins was taken
quickly and another penalty awarded.
Swiel placed it in the 22 for an attacking line-out for the final play
of the game.
The ball was thrown long but Swiel gathered it and crossed
the whitewash for the final try of the game.
He failed to convert his own try, hitting the posts in what looked to be
the easiest conversion of the game.
With Edinburgh losing in Paris, Quins topped Pool 5 with two
Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 75 – 3
Mike Brown was named Man of the Match.
15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie
Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Ruaridh Jackson, 9 Danny Care ©, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Rob
Buchanan, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 4 George Merrick, 5 Charlie Matthews, 6 James
Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Jack Clifford
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Sam Jones, 19
Stan South, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Tim Swiel, 23
15 Stephen Shennan, 14 Madalin Lemnaru, 13 Brian Sefanaia,
12 Paula Kinikinilau, 24 Fonovai Tangimana, 10 Jack Umaga, 9 Gabriel Conache, 1
Edmund Aholelei, 2 Andrei Radoi, 3 Horatiu Pungea, 4 Valentin Popirlan ©, 5
Marian Drenceanu, 6 Randall Morrison, 7 Lazar Dorin, 8 Daniel Gabriel Ianus
Replacements: 16 Eugen Capatana, 17 Gigi Militaru, 18 Samuel
Maris, 19 Ionut Muresan, 20 Victor Dumitru, 21 Marius Simionescu, 22 Florin
Popa, 23 Gorcioaia Marian