Saturday, April 07, 2007

Irish eyes aren't smiling (Harlequins 34 - London Irish 17)

After three weeks off and over a month away from the Stoop Harlequins returned to action today against our old 'friends' from Reading, London Irish. This will be one of those games were the statistics will not tell the whole story. Irish dominated both territory and possession yet came away empty handed. Even a comically inept performance from referee David Rose (who it must be remembered also whistled Quins off the park in the away fixture in September) couldn't help Irish turn their pressure into points, as a mixture of heroic Quins defence and a lack of invention and precision behind the scrum led to them failing to put their chances away. On the other hand despite living off scraps for most of the game Quins for once finished off their chances scoring on four of their five trips into the Irish 22 (they would have scored on the fifth too if Rose hadn't missed Irish killing the ball at three successive rucks after Mike Brown's break).

The difference between the two sides were the storming runs by man of the match Chris Hala'Ufia, at times the Irish defenders looked like skittles being bounced off by a bowling ball, and the more silky but equally effective sallies of future England full back Mike Brown. Both created a try by breaking the Irish line from within their own 22, although credit must also go to the excellent support play that led to both chances being converted.

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