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Sunday, 18 December 2016

Harlequins run in 11 tries over Timisoara Saracens in the European Rugby Challenge Cup

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 tournament.

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 team.

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 17 minutes.

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 opposition half.

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 bonus point.

Half Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 35 – 0 Timisoara Saracens

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 territory.

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 Saracens’ 22.

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 the ball.

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 22.

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 minutes).
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 Timisoara Saracens.

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 games remaining.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 75 – 3 Timisoara Saracens

Mike Brown was named Man of the Match.

Attendance: 9,642

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  Alofa Alofa

Timisoara Saracens:
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

posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 5:45 pm  

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