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Sunday, 17 February 2019

Harlequins 47 - 33 Worcester Warriors at the Twickenham Stoop




Under an overcast yet dry sky, the atmosphere was one of expectation.

Heading into this weekend, Twickenham-based Harlequins were third in the Premiership Table. Their opponents Saturday, Worcester Warriors, were eight places behind.

How would the teams perform following their two-week rest period? The answer? A try after 35 seconds for Harlequins’ Joe Marchant; a try gifted from the error of Warrior Francois Hougaard who slipped whilst attempting to gather the ball, allowing a chasing Marchant to gather and dive for the line. Marcus Smith converted: Harlequins 7 – 0 Worcester Warriors.

Already voices from the stands started to shout out ‘three more tries’ – such was the atmosphere in The Stoop.

The chants started early as Quins found touch from a box-kick, albeit still within their own half. Worcester gathered well but the hosts prevented a rolling maul. Worcester were forced to pass the ball from wing to wing, always looking for the gap in the defence but it was not to be. The visitors knocked on and Quins cleared their lines.

Another line-out gathered confidently by Worcester, and another knock-on forced by the quick pace of the Quins’ defensive line. The hosts passed well with ball in hand and a lovely chip over the Warriors defence by James Horwill allowed Gabriel Ibitoye to gather and score. Converted by Marcus Smith: Harlequins 14 – 0 Worcester Warriors after 8 minutes.

‘Two more tries’ became the cry.

Worcester were strong under the high ball but a quick follow-up tackle by Nathan Earle allowed Quins to steal possession. They held the ball for too long, however, and were penalised. Worcester kicked for touch and gathered another successful line-out. The hosts once again turned over possession with their defensive effort and were awarded a scrum just outside their own 22.

Danny Care fed, Alex Dombrandt gathered and passed out to the left wing; Care the deception running to the right. A beautiful grubber kick found touch on Worcester’s 10m line. The set-piece of the visitors was functioning well but the strong defensive line from the hosts forced the Warriors to kick. The visitors seemed unable to break through with ball in hand.

Quins were successful with their line-out and gained ground with their rolling maul. Smith chased his own high ball but was unable to gather. Worcester, however, kicked away possession allowing Quins to attack once more.

Smith attempted another grubber to chase but this time it was gathered by Worcester and placed neatly into touch.

Quins retained line-out ball and went to the far wing. Mike Brown collected the ball from the ruck and sprinted along the line and over for a try. Smith again added the conversion: Harlequins 21 – 0 Worcester Warriors after 19 minutes.

The hosts gathered the re-start ball well but were forced back into their own 22 through a strong chasing Warrior pack. Care box-kicked and the Warriors ran the ball back; a missed tackle allowing the visitors to gain ground. The hosts were then penalised for straying offside and Worcester found touch for an attacking line-out.

Play was halted whilst Joe Marler received treatment ahead of a Worcester scrum; Adam Jones (Quins scrum coach and water-boy) took the opportunity to refresh his team.

Worcester were unable to break through the defensive line but they were able to make progress and force the line back. Harlequins were again penalised for offside and again the Warriors opted for an attacking line-out.

The visitors gathered successfully, earning advantage. Josh Adams ran for the line but was brought down just short. They recycled the ball to the far wing but a forward pass disallowed the try.

Worcester went back for the penalty and again kicked for touch. They gathered the line-out ball and formed a maul. The visitors drove for the line and earned their first try of the game (Jack Singleton); converted (Duncan Weir): Harlequins 21 – 7 Worcester Warriors (27 minutes).

Too many penalties by the hosts in their own 22.

Smith re-started the game and the high ball was again taken confidently by Warriors. They box-kicked back and Quins opted to run with the ball before sending it over the opposition. Earle challenged for it but it was Max Crumpton who gathered the fallout and made strides forward before being tackled into touch on the Warriors’ 22.

The visitors took their time executing the set-piece, much to the annoyance of the Quins fans. Worcester gathered and box-kicked allowing Quins’ Earle to gather. An aerial battle ensued before Brown sent a lovely long kick back to the opposition 22 and Hougaard, in his second slip-up of the game, knocked-on whilst gathering the ball.

It was not pretty play but Quins retained possession and made strides forward. A cross-field kick by the hosts (Brown) allowed Jack Clifford to gather and cross for the bonus-point try. Smith converted: Harlequins 28 – 7 Worcester Warriors (36 minutes).

The pressure seemed to be getting to Worcester. They still played with passion and determination but passes were no longer clinical, forcing awkward gatherings.

Another penalty by the hosts, however, allowed the visitors to gain territory and kick for touch. They again gathered line-out ball, unchallenged by Quins on this occasion, but the visitors could not form a maul. Worcester attacked with ball in hand and earned another penalty (Quins offside). The Warriors opted for a 5-metre scrum. What a dominant performance from the hosts who won a penalty of their own – their scrum just too strong for the visitors.

Smith kicked out to end the first half.

Half-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 28 – 7 Worcester Warriors


Worcester started the second-half with tactics borrowed from Quins in the first – running at the defence before chipping over for a chase. The difference here is Quins reached the ball first and kicked into touch.

Worcester gathered well but just a few phases later and Quins overturned possession. They box-kicked out and Worcester caught the high ball. A quick chase from Quins, however, forced the Warrior into touch.

Harlequins secured line-out ball and kicked high. Although Worcester again gathered, they lost territory and Quins kept them pinned in their own half.

Harlequins scrum-half Danny Care showed no concern for his own safety as he leapt onto a spilt ball – the chasing Worcester pack making contact (Anton Bresler). Care received treatment and was back on his feet; a penalty awarded to the hosts.

They kicked for touch but lost possession. Once again, however, passing was slack form the visitors and the ball strayed into touch. A strong Harlequins’ line-out at half-way was short lived as the host were pushed back into their 22 before knocking-on (Ben Tapuai).

The Worcester scrum-half Hougaard fed the set-piece and gathered the ball before passing to the centre and onwards to the far wing. They were relentlessly attacking the Quins’ try-line with Bryce Heem touching down in the near corner. The conversion attempt hit the post and bounced out: Harlequins 28 – 12 Worcester Warriors.

The Game Changers took to the field for Harlequins with Lewis Boyce, Dave Ward, James Chisholm and James Lang (52 minutes).

The re-start ball was kicked long before Worcester returned it. Offside by the visitors impeded Care but allowed Quins to kick for the corner.

The ball was gathered well and a maul formed. It collapsed before reaching the try-line and so Quins passed to the centres as cheers and chants erupted around The Stoop.

The hard work paid off as Danny Care crossed the whitewash for the hosts’ 5th try of the game. Conversion added by Lang: Harlequins 35 – 12 Worcester Warriors (55mins).

Further misery was added to the visitors as another knock-on during their attack handed a scrum to Harlequins on the half-way line.

Worcester started to make changes with Gareth Milasinovich and Ted Hill joining the pitch (56 minutes).

It was the turn of Harlequins to knock-on whilst breaking through the defensive line and Worcester made the most of it, running along the wing. Brown was shown yellow for slowing down the ball and Worcester kicked for a line-out (58 minutes).

Quins, however, defended hard and as ‘Harlequins’ chants resonated around The Stoop, the hosts turned over possession and cleared their lines.

Worcester came again but Quins drove them back with every hard-hitting tackle, earning a penalty (not releasing). Lang again found good distance on his kick.

Possession was short-lived as Worcester were awarded a scrum, upgraded to a free-kick. They found touch, gathered line-out ball and formed a maul. Once again, however, basic skills let them down and a long pass flew forward.

Quins cleared their lines and although Worcester’s Ryan Mills gathered the high ball, the host’s defence was quickly upon him. Worcester did, however, continue with possession and the far wing, where Brown once stood, let in a try (Josh Adams); converted by Chris Pennell: Harlequins 35 – 19 Worcester Warriors (66 minutes).

The far wing seemed to be a gaping chasm as Worcester attacked and again gained ground but a Quins’ opportunity to steal possession took play back into Worcester’s territory. Brown returned to the field having served his sin-bin.

In the opposition 22, Harlequins recycled the ball well; Tapuai crossing the whitewash. Lang added the conversion: Harlequins 42 – 19 Worcester Warriors (70 minutes).

Man of the Match Danny Care was replaced.

The final 10 minutes of the game and Worcester seemed to slow their attack – slower at the breakdown. Yet that tactic worked as gaps opened up in the Quins defence and Michael Heaney scored the third try for Warriors. Converted by Pennell: Harlequins 42 – 26 Worcester Warriors.

Josh Ibuanokpe replaced Will Collier for the hosts (73 minutes).

The re-start ball was not gathered cleanly by Worcester and Quins stole possession. A forward pass, however, ended that play. The hosts regained the ball and Lang crossed in the far corner. Unconverted. (75 minutes).

The game got underway again with the ball being kicked straight into touch by Worcester, handing a scrum to Quins at halfway.

A superb long pass from Tapuai to Ibitoye kept the attacking run going, but Ibitoye was down on the pitch in pain following a tackle.

He had to leave the field, shaking his head, but applauding the fans. With all replacements now used by the hosts, Harlequins found themselves once again down to 14 men (78 minutes).

Worcester had the last say of the game – they won the scrum and successfully executed a cross-field kick. Tom Howe crossed the whitewash; the try converted by Pennell: Harlequins 47 – 33 Worcester Warriors.

The clock counted down but Worcester were aiming to add a losing bonus point to their try bonus-point. A forward pass, however, ended this hope and ended the game.

Full-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 47 – 33 Worcester Warriors

Attendance: 12,235

HARLEQUINS

15 Mike Brown, 14 Gabriel Ibitoye, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Nathan Earle, 10 Marcus Smith, 9 Danny Care, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Max Crumpton, 3 Will Collier, 4 Matt Symons, 5 James Horwill (CC), 6 Jack Cliffors, 7 Chris Robshaw (CC), 8 Alex Dombrandt

Game Changers
16 Dave Ward, 17 Lewis Boyce, 18 Josh Ibuanokpe, 19 Ben Glynn, 20 James Chisholm, 21 Dave Lewis, 22 James Lang, 23 Alofa Alofa

WORCESTER WARRIORS
15 Chris Pennell, 14 Bryce Heem, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Ryan Mills, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Duncan Weir, 9 Francois Hougaard, 1 Callum Black, 2 Jack Singleton, 3 Nick Schonert, 4 Anton Bresler, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 6 Marco Mama, 7 Sam Lewis, 8 GJ Van Velze ©

Replacements
16 Isaac Miller, 17 Ethan Waller, 18 Gareth Milasinovich, 19 Darren Barry, 20 Ted Hill, 21 Michael Heaney, 22 Ollie Lawrence, 23 Tom Howe

Referee: Luke Pearce
Assistants: Simon McConnell; Jonathan Healy
TMO: Keith Lewis

Match Report: Natalie Osborne Photography: Chris Spring
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 5:00 am  

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