Quins through to the semi-finals in the Parker Pen Challenge Cup
2 February 2004 10:16am
Despite a disappointing 36-20 defeat in their return leg at Brive on Sunday (1st February), NEC Harlequins progress to the Parker Pen Challenge Cup semi-finals after winning the overall tie 61-44 on aggregate.
Quins went into the match at Parc Municipal des Sports with a 33-point advantage following last week's 41-8 win in the first leg, but an 18-point haul from Brive scrum-half Valentin Courrent rattled Quins.
A blindside side move from a lineout set-up Quins' first try for George Harder, and the trusty boot of former Ireland international Paul Burke kept the scoreboard ticking over with three penalty goals.
Brive hit back with two late tries to take a 22-14 lead at half-time and give the home fans a glimmer of hope of an unlikely 34-point victory to steal the two-leg series.
Another try to speedy Brive winger Yves Donguy immediately after the resumption forced a rethink in the Quins game plan and two further penalties from Burke managed to settle the nerves and end Brive's challenge.
Tempers frayed in the closing stages and in the 77th minute Brive's Australian lock John Welborn saw a red card for over-vigorous rucking.
Final score, 36-20.
(NEC Harlequins win the tie 61-44 on aggregate)
NEC Harlequins will play Connacht in the semi-final's, while Bath meet Montferrand.
The two legs of the semi-finals will be played on the weekends of 9th / 10th / 11th and 23rd / 24th / 25th April.
A draw will take place in Dublin on Tuesday (3rd February) to determine home advantage in the first leg.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.