24 Apr 14
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Quins v Bath
Harlequins v Bath Rugby
Bath Rugby (H)
10/05/2014, KO 15:15
Sat 10th May 14
AVIVA Premiership Rugby
Bath 14-3 Quins
L W W W W
W L W W W
In a tough contest between the two sides three yellow cards were issued throughout the course of the eighty minutes, yet it could have been more. Tom Guest was shown yellow in the 28th minute for pulling down a maul, while Paul Doran Jones and George Pisi were also both sent to the bin. Doran Jones was given the card for going in at the side of a ruck four minutes after he came on and Pisi was binned for a huge hit on Matt Hopper in the 78th minute which saw him knock the centre clean off his feet.
Despite the infringements, it was a very evenly matched game with both sides determined and committed notwithstanding the wet and windy conditions and a sodden, muddy pitch. With rain coming in and a strong wind causing problems for the kickers, running rugby proved difficult.
At half-time the score was 6-6, a result of two penalties each. Stephen Myler, the Northampton Saints' fly-half kicked his side ahead minutes after kick-off and then Nick Evans levelled the scores moments later.
Evans then kicked the visitors into the lead for the only time in the game in the twentieth minute when the hosts were penalised for holding on in a ruck. Saints' second penalty came just before half-time after Harlequins were adjudged to have played the man without the ball. From right in front of the posts Myler didn't miss.
In the second half two tries from the home side set up the win, with the second just putting the game out of Harlequins' reach.
George North crossed the line for his team six minutes into the second half. A Harlequins scrum right on their own five metre line was won, but the subsequent clearance kick went straight to the winger who charged 15 metres towards his own try line, bulldozing his way through several players as he went, in typical North style. Myler kicked an excellent conversion from the touchline with the assistance of Lee Dickson holding the ball due to the buffeting wind to take his team into the lead 13-6.
Myler and Ben Botica, who had replaced Evans at half-time, then exchanged penalties to take the score to 16-9. Northampton's captain Dylan Hartley was penalised just after the hour mark for stamping on Karl Dickson in a ruck. The incident was referred to the TMO, but the hooker was adjudged to not have been deliberate in his action and the penalty rather than a card was awarded.
Northampton's penalty came minutes later after a number of incidents across the pitch. Tim Molenaar blocked Saints' fullback Tom Collins in midfield whilst tensions were running high on the left touchline. Courtney Lawes elbowed George Robson, while Salesi Ma'afu landed a punch on Will Collier. The referee Greg Garner went to the TMO, and brought the penalty against Harlequins for Molenaar's challenge.
Saints' second try came in the 72nd minute after a set piece line-out. Harlequins knocked the ball back, but a mix up between two players let the ball slip and Saints' captain and Man of the Match Dylan Hartley took advantage, and touched the loose ball down over the line. Myler's conversion bounced in off the horizontal bar to give his side a 23-9 lead which took the game and a losing bonus point away from the visitors.
In the dying minutes, Harlequins were as relentless as ever, striving to take something from the game, but to no avail. The team have six home matches coming up in the Premiership and are determined to take advantage.
Attention now turns to the Heineken Cup next week when Harlequins host Clermont Auvergne at The Stoop on Saturday 11th January, 13.35 kick-off.
|Northampton Saints Score Card|
|Harlequins Score Card|