Care puts on a show to give Quins quar­ter-fi­nal hope

The Rugby Paper - - News - By NEALE HAR­VEY Cadan Mur­ley - Har­lequins

HAR­LEQUINS head to Agen this Fri­day know­ing a win will send them into the quar­ter-fi­nals af­ter edg­ing a tense game of two halves against Greno­ble.

A rip-roar­ing first pe­riod in which both sides at­tacked at will saw Quins fall be­hind in the open­ing sec­onds be­fore bag­ging four tries from Danny Care, Mike Brown, Cadan Mur­ley and Max Crump­ton to ap­pear rel­a­tively com­fort­ably off at the break.

How­ever, an oddly sub­dued se­cond half dis­play al­lowed Greno­ble a foothold be­fore James Lang’s penalty and Alex Dom­brandt’s last-gasp try set­tled the is­sue.

“Weird game,” was how skip­per Care summed it up. “We wanted to start well and all our talk was about shock­ing them. But be­fore you knew it, they were un­der our sticks in the first minute, which was prob­a­bly the best thing for us.

“It woke us up and as soon as we got the ball we started play­ing and I think we were bril­liant in at­tack. The dis­ap­point­ment for us is how soft a cou­ple of their tries were, but we showed re­solve at the end with 14men and fin­ished the job.

“Over­all, it’s five points and a suc­cess­ful day. We’ve got to back it up and try and get the right re­sult in Agen now to get through the group.”

Greno­ble forced a first­minute turnover in­side Har­lequins’ 22 and the ball went wide for skip­per An­tonin Ber­ruyer to plough over.

Quins re­sponded with a scrum turnover, only for poor han­dling to ruin the chance. But Semi Ku­natani soon won the ball back and when Ben Lu­cas hes­i­tated fol­low­ing Gabriel Ibitoye’s chip, the alert Care filched the ball be­fore scoot­ing home.

Mur­ley’s thrilling chip and chase prompted the next Har­lequins at­tack and Brown grabbed try No.2 from Ben Ta­puai’s off­load from the floor. A crunch­ing Lewis Boyce hit on Lu­cas set up Quins’ third try, fin­ished by livewire Mur­ley from Care’s in­tel­li­gent punt af­ter Dom­brandt’s charge.

Greno­ble hit back when Ger­vais Cordin steamed through Brown’s tackle to score, but Har­lequins re­sponded by bag­ging their fourth try – and the bonus point – on 30 min­utes when Ben Glynn took a li­ne­out and Crump­ton piled over.

It was hec­tic stuff and the pace re­fused to re­lent as Greno­ble grabbed a third try through Cordin be­fore the break af­ter good work from Eti­enne Dusartre. Seven tries, 28-17 to Quins and plenty for the de­fence coaches to pon­der.

Crump­ton’s over­throw

handed Greno­ble early se­cond half mo­men­tum, com­pounded by Ibitoye’s fum­ble which led to a penalty chance con­verted by Lu­cas.

Har­lequins looked out of sorts, con­ced­ing two more sloppy penal­ties as Greno­ble sensed a chance. With Quins go­ing right off the boil, an­other Crump­ton li­ne­out went astray but Greno­ble were un­able to take fur­ther ad­van­tage.

Har­lequins rang the changes in an ef­fort to wrest con­trol and Luke Wal­lace’s turnover en­abled Brown to cre­ate some mo­men­tum.

How­ever, Care’s box-kick was fielded by Teiva Jac­que­lain and back came Greno­ble through rampaging hooker Mike Tad­jer. Joe Mar­ler’s mon­ster tackle halted him be­fore Quins fi­nally added to their tally through Lang’s penalty.

Har­lequins en­joyed a let-off when Taleta Tupuola fum­bled short of the line be­fore Mar­ler was again in the thick of the ac­tion with suc­ces­sive mas­sive hits on Jac­quelin and Lu­cas Dupont, to the roars of an ap­pre­cia­tive home crowd.

Cheers soon turned to groans when Dave Ward was yel­low-carded for a high shot on Jac­quelin

In keep­ing with a strange con­test, though, it was Har­lequins who had the fi­nal word when Dom­brandt bril­liantly chased down Pablo Uberti, won a penalty, and was then on hand to rum­ble over af­ter Lang had opted for a quick tap.

Reach­ing out: Cadan Mur­ley col­lects the ball on his way to scor­ing for Quins

PIC­TURE: Getty Im­ages

That man again: Alex Dom­brandt scores in the last minute

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