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Saturday, 27 January 2018

Quins run in 5 tries against Scarlets at the Twickenham Stoop

Heading into this weekend the hosts Harlequins had won two out of two games in the Anglo-Welsh Cup; their opponents for today’s match, Scarlets, had lost both of their openers however had qualified for the knock-out stages of the European Rugby Champions Cup. This was set to be quite a competition.

Quins were pleased to welcome back Aaron Morris, Joe Marchant and Sam Twomey from injury, and more Academy Players were set to earn their colours.

Despite the very fine rain drenching the coat and the cold penetrating through to the bone, there was a buoyant atmosphere at the Twickenham Stoop as the clock struck 3pm.

The visiting Scarlets kicked proceedings underway. The PRO14 side was handed back possession but were kept locked in their own half as the Harlequins defence was quick to react.

Scarlets were forced to kick. This opened a passage of territory play before the host fallback Morris, fresh from his return following injury, chose to run with ball in hand.

The first infringement of the game went against Quins who were penalised for going off their feet, handing a kickable penalty to Scarlets. Their flyhalf Jacob Botica pulled the ball wide of the posts in the 5th minute.

Harlequins found themselves under pressure in their own 22 following a strong chase by Scarlets. The hosts, however, were awarded a free kick and placed the ball neatly into touch on the halfway line.

Quins retained possession and sent the ball long for Wallace to gather out on the wing but it was knocked-on. Scarlets fed the scrum and came away with the ball. The rain continued to play havoc with possession changing hands, more dropped balls, and reset scrums.

A scramble for the ball allowed Quins to steal possession however their attempt to kick the ball over the opposition saw it intercepted by the PRO14 side who called ‘the mark’, allowing them to clear.

The line-out, just inside the Scarlets’ half, handed possession to Harlequins. Superb offloading allowed the hosts to race up to the 22. Scrum-half Dave Lewis attempted another chip over but in a repeat of play just minutes before, the visitors were prepared, caught the ball and called another mark.

On this occasion, however, the visitors failed to find touch and Harlequins ran the ball back up the field. Wing Gabriel Ibitoye chased his own kick along the touch line but his footballing skills were not quite up to the task and the ball rolled the wrong side of the whitewash.

Following a fight back from Scarlets, a penalty was awarded to Quins who kicked long for an attacking line-out in the far corner. Second row Charlie Matthews secured the ball.

The forwards added their muscle, making strides through the defence, then they released the centres and backs. Scarlets, however, were up to the task and turned-over possession finding safety in touch.

Charlie Matthews was again the target for the ensuing Quins’ line-out and a maul formed, progressing up the field. Advantage was being played then a penalty awarded to the hosts; the visitors having illegally obstructed play.

Quins kicked for the corner, secured line-out ball, formed another maul and another penalty was issued. The hosts opted to repeat the play. This time they powered over the try line but the referee, Elgan Williams, judged the ball to have been held up.

A 5-metre scrum was awarded to the hosts. This time instead of going for muscle they released the centres. Inside centre Henry Cheeseman crossed the whitewash. Fly-half James Lang added the conversion: Harlequins 7 – 0 Scarlets after 22 minutes.

The restart was scrappily gathered by Scarlets and they ran the ball out to the far wing. It was sent back to the centre and then kicked high in an attempt to break through the defence. Quins, however, gathered the ball and Dave Lewis box-kicked from the ensuing ruck. Scarlets returned the ball and the hosts then sent it into touch in the opposition 22.

With the rain continuing to fall, another scrappy line-out ensued. Harlequins stole possession and attacked the try line; Scarlets desperately keeping them out.

A penalty was awarded to the hosts and once again they kicked for the corner and formed a maul. Scrumhalf Lewis retrieved the ball from the maul and crossed for a try. Conversion added. The hosts doubled their advantage: Harlequins 14 – 0 Scarlets after 28 minutes.

The restart was gathered by second row Stan South but then knocked-on. Advantage was being played by the visitors who passed the ball well but were penalised after hitting the deck for holding on.

Scarlets stole possession but play was halted after Quins’ tight-head prop Phil Swainston received treatment to his right shoulder. He stayed on the pitch and play resumed with a scrum to the visitors. They were again penalised for holding on and Harlequins fly-half Lang kicked for a line-out.

The ball slipped through the arms of the Quins’ players and Scarlets gathered, only to knock-on, handing a scrum to the hosts. This was then upgraded to a penalty for a collapsed scrum.

Quins kicked for a line-out in the 22. Matthews secured possession and the ball was passed to Ibitoye. Ducking and diving, he weaved his way through the defence. Scarlets, however, came away with possession after the ball was spilled.

They sent the ball out to the wing having spotted a gap in the defence and then kicked through for a chase. Quins’ outside centre Joe Marchant gathered the ball. The hosts ran it back up the field but knocked-on in an attempted catch.

Scarlets had the put-in at the scrum. They retrieved, passed quickly and kicked for another chase. On this occasion they sent the ball long and it went into touch on the full.

An exchange of distance kicking then ensued with both fallbacks put to the test. Scarlets then sent the ball high with Quins gathering. A lack of communication between Wallace and Ibitoye saw the ball thrown into touch signalling the half-time break.

Half Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 14 – 0 Scarlets

Harlequins kicked off the second half although a miscommunication between fly-half Lang and the rest of his side meant their run-up had to be halted as the no. 10 failed to kick off in time to maximise their fast start.

The hosts pushed hard and made it within touching distance of the try line. Free kick was awarded and they went for a line-out. The referee blew again moments later after playing yet another advantage and the hosts repeated the play.

On they pushed; Scarlets defending as best they could. It was not good enough, though, as blind-side flanker Archie White added his name to the score sheet. Conversion added: Harlequins 21 – 0 Scarlets with 33 minutes of play remaining.

The restart was kicked long but gathered well by Quins’ Ibitoye who was really making the most of his time on the field. Scrumhalf Lewis took too long clearing the ruck inviting Scarlets to steal possession.

A good attempt was made by Quins to turnover the ball however they were instead penalised for going off their feet.

Scarlets were the first team to make changes, replacing their fullback and tight-head prop.

At this move, Quins also changed their no.3 with 29 minutes remaining.

Play continued with a scrum to Scarlets in the Quins’ 22. The PRO14 side were then awarded a penalty and after a discussion kicked for the corner; the line-out just metres from the try line.

The visitors secured possession and passed the ball, allowing forwards and centres alike to grab and drive.

The fans in the stands started a chorus of ‘Come On You Quins’ It worked as Quins were awarded a defensive scrum. Scarlets, however, stole ball and again made themselves known as they pushed for their opening try.

The hosts’ defence were standing their ground and pushing the visitors back outside the 22.

Matthews put in a superb tackle, pushing Scarlets back over the half-way line then Stan South charged down an attempted kick.

Fly-half Lang chased the ball but was deemed to have knocked on whilst attempting to place the downward pressure on the ball during a foot race with the opposition.

A defensive scrum was awarded to the visitors 5 metres from their try line. Although the visitors kicked the ball safe, it was sliced into touch allowing Quins an attacking platform. The hosts needed no invitation and ran the ball back to within metres of the whitewash. No.10 Lang broke away and crossing near the posts. He then converted his own try despite needing treatment from the physiotherapists: Harlequins 28 – 0 Scarlets with 21 minutes left.

The restart was again sent long by the visitors as more replacements were made but Quins looked in control with Marchant finding touch deep inside the Scarlets’ half. The hosts continued the pressure without the ball, forcing the visitors further back into their own half.

A dangerous clear out handed the hosts possession and a long kick into touch.

Quins retained possession; progression slow and steady. The ball was sent to the wing where a fast-paced attack was halted by a forward pass.

Scarlets attempted to run the ball from their 22. The fans in the stands again became very vocal and more replacements for Quins with Aaron Morris receiving applause.

The visitors had a second attempt from the scrum and Scarlets kicked, allowing their own no. 23 Morgan Griffiths to gather and continue the advance. His opposite number, Quins’ Cadan Murley (an Academy Player making his first senior appearance) executed the tackle, bringing the opponents’ advance to a halt.

The ball went into touch on the far wing and Matthews again used his full height to gather the ball. It was sent long to the opposite wing but a sloppy catch sent the ball into the waiting arms of the Scarlets. The visitors struggled to get into the hosts’ 22 until Jack Maynard chipped the ball through.

Play was halted as the boot of Scarlets’ no. 4 Josh Helps came off. The visitors, earning a free kick, sent the ball to the corner for a line-out.

Quins stole possession and sent the ball into touch. Academy Player Max Coyle came on for his first senior appearance in place of Joe Marchant as Cameron Holenstein replaced Mark Lambert.

Play resumed with a scrum to the visitors inside the Quins’ half. The hosts received a warning as another penalty was awarded to the Scarlets, who kicked for a line=out close to the try line.

The PRO14 side pushed on and got over the line with 8 minutes left (Bryce Morgan); conversion added: Harlequins 28 – 7 Scarlets.

An unforgivable error by Quins on the restart handed a scrum to the opposition on the halfway line.

Scarlets raced into the hosts’ half but were soon pushed back. Quins stole possession and wing Ross Chisholm ran half the field to cross for a try; conversion added. Harlequins 35 – 7 Scarlets. A good response from the hosts who reasserted their dominance with just 3 minutes remaining.

The visitors got the game underway again and Quins attempted a run along the wing, kicking ahead but with too much pressure rolling the ball into touch at the halfway line.

Scarlets again danced their way into the hosts’ territory but were quickly forced back – Quins strong in both attack and fast in defence. The visitors attempted dummy passes; fast passes and drives but they kept being pushed back. Their replacement scrumhalf Alex Schwarz was forced to box-kick from a ruck. This merely handed possession to the hosts who ran it just metres from the tryline before being tackled into touch ending the game.

Full Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 35 – 7 Scarlets

This result saw Harlequins top their group table with three wins from three. With Worcester Warriors forcing a decisive victory over Exeter Chiefs at Sixways, Harlequins are in a strong position going into the final group match next week, requiring a single point from their away game against Northampton Saints on Friday to make it into the semi-finals.

Attendance: 9,305

Match Report: Natalie Osborne; Photos Chris Spring
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 11:43 pm  

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