The Sunday Post (Newcastle)

Quins sit top as the Tigers are put to the sword again

- By Stuart Bathgate

Harlequins attack coach Nick Evans accepts his team need to evolve and adapt different styles if they are to earn more success following their hard-fought victory at Leicester.

Quins sit top of the Gallagher Premiershi­p table following their fourth league win-in-a-row and their second of the calendar year at Mattioli Woods Welford Road.

They won admirers for their spectacula­r attacking style in winning their second Premiershi­p title in 2020-21, but they showed another side to their game against the Tigers, with three of their five tries being close-range efforts from forwards.

Evans said: “You look at the teams that win World Cups, the teams that win championsh­ips, they have the ability to change the style and the way they play their game.

“We will always have our identity, we’re really clear on that, we train that, but we also need to evolve and be able to stick in games like that.

“You come up here and the dew comes down in the last 20 minutes and it gets a bit wet, and you saw that it maybe got a little bit sticky there.

“There were a few turnovers around the middle of the field, which was obviously an improvemen­t for us, but we stuck in there and we played the game we needed to play towards the end.

“We just waited for those scenarios where we could imprint our DNA on to the game and, luckily enough, we managed to do that.”

Harlequins led 17-15 at halftime thanks to Tyrone Green’s try after Hanro Liebenberg and Freddie Steward had replied to scores from Alex Dombrandt and Dino Lamb.

The lead changed six times in total, with another Steward try and a Handre Pollard penalty nudging the Tigers ahead, but Quins would not be denied and efforts from Will Porter and Lamb saw them home.

Leicester head coach Dan

McKellar said: “We beat ourselves.

“We made errors at critical moments, especially in that second half; handling errors, set-piece errors at key moments.

“We did enough to win that game. We’ve created plenty of opportunit­ies, we just didn’t take them.

“I thought defensivel­y we need to be much better, that’s the reality.

“We have conceded four soft tries at home, similar to Sale – we can’t be scoring tries and then conceding immediatel­y after, so that’s got to change.

“Our carries and our cleanout work was superb and off

Ayrshire Bulls beat Watsonians 38-22 last night to book their place in Saturday’s Super Series final at the Hive Stadium in Edinburgh.

The men from Millbrae will meet Stirling Wolves, who shocked tournament favourites Heriot’s 26-21 on Friday night.

The Bulls took an early lead but then went behind after a purple patch by the visitors saw them take a 19-7 lead.

Tyrone Green of Harlequins goes over in acrobatic style against the Tigers. Inset, Quins coach Nick Evans. the back of that we played off really quick ball.

“I thought we looked good when we shifted the ball, but there were just some critical handling errors at key moments.

“Sam Carter nearly scores, Cam Henderson nearly scores and we just knocked the ball on. We’ve got to tidy that up.”

The home team finished the first half strongly to go in at the break with the scores level at 19-19, and although a penalty saw Watsonians get their noses in front again early in the second half, Ayrshire were dominant after that and ran out winners with something to spare.

The Bulls were 2021 champions and runners-up to Watsonians last year, but this will be a first final for the Wolves. Eddie Pollock’s team were serious underdogs

Granted, the average number of employees has risen by 34 – but if you work out the average salary of 34 new employees, it works out at around £185,000 – so there has been significan­t wage inflation at Scottish Rugby.

If you delve into the Annual Report further, you find an interestin­g table which lays out the salary bandings of players and core employees at the organisati­on.

Over 80% of the core employees earn less than £50k, while around 52% of players fit into that salary banding.

When you look at the top end of the scale, 25 players earn more than £200k – an increase of 10 from the previous year, while three Board Directors are in that salary banding – the highest paid Director earning a huge £676K.

They aren’t named, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that it is probably the CEO, Mark Dodson.

Given the performanc­e of the organisati­on, which ultimately is measured by the outcomes on the field, both internatio­nally and domestical­ly, you have to feel that this sort of remunerati­on isn’t consistent with performanc­e.

Scotland have been dumped out of the Rugby World Cup at the group stages twice in successive tournament­s. That isn’t good.

Mark Dodson is failing whatever metric you go by, and so are the Board, who should represent the key stakeholde­rs in the game.

Perhaps it’s time for the key stakeholde­rs to make a bit more noise about the way the game is governed.

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