Slick Harlequins maintain pace at the top of the Pool. 13thJanuary2019


12th January 2019


                                       Harlequins   38     Grenoble   20

                                European Rugby Challenge Cup Round 5

                                    Saturday 12th January 2019

                                         Peter Moore at the Stoop

                                             Attendance: 9,239

Harlequins will head to France on Friday knowing that a win against Agen will send them into the quarter-finals after completing victory against Grenoble.

Despite falling behind in the opening minutes, Quins bagged four tries inside thirty minutes to appear comfortable at the break, only for the French side to claw their way back into the contest before James Lang’s penalty and Alex Dombrandt’s last gasp try settled the game.

Before the start of today’s game, this tight Pool featuring Quins, Grenoble, Benetton and Agen had  seen every team win two and lost two with only two points separating all four teams, with Harlequins top of the group with 11 points.

It was the visitors from France who opened the scoring inside the second minute when Grenoble turned over the ball inside Quins 22, following a quick break from Captain Antonin Berruyer who crossed, the conversion was missed but the visitors drew first blood.

Ten minutes later Harlequins hit back when Danny Care pounced and ran in under the posts. Marcus Smith added the extras to give Quins a two-point lead. Quins then added two further tries in the space of five minutes to stretch their lead to 16 points. The first of those tries saw the ball worked across the right-hand side with Be Tapuai offloading to record breaker Mike Brown who touched down. Care was involved in the action for Quins third try when his kick found youngster Cadan Murley on the wing who dotted down. Not to be undone, the French side hit back when Gervais Cordin scored after a rolling maul. Quins had the try bonus point secured in the 32nd minute following a driving maul from a close-range line out when Max Crupton crashed over.

Still the French side kept coming back at Quins and it was Cordin who picked up his second try of the afternoon following a line out that was lost by Harlequins, the ball was worked to the full back who crossed. The conversion was missed with Quins leading 28-17 at the break.

The French side were on the front foot directly after the break with Ben Lucas slotting over a penalty. The visitors should have cut the gap to five points, but Corentin Glenat’s penalty kick was sliced wide of the posts. The visitor’s were made to pay for their miss when they were penalised for offside, with James Lang slotting over to give Quins a 31-20 lead. Quins had to play out the last six minutes with 14 men when Dave Ward was shown a yellow card for a high tackle. There was still time for Quins to have the final word and score their fifth try of the afternoon right on the stroke of full time following some sensational work from Alex Dombrandt, who chased down Pablo Uberti to win a penalty. From the resulting penalty Dombrandt rumbled over to give Harlequins victory, and maintain their position at the top of the pool.




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