Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Eye spy - Quins' tonking by Sarries

Eye spy is a new weekly series from HarpinOnRugby where we'll have a look at an opponent either Leinster or Ireland are due to face in a big contest later in the season, sharing with you some brief notes on general headings and individual performances.

TARGET - Harlequins, who are in RCC Pool 2 with Leinster, Wasps & Castres.

WHO, WHEN, WHERE - They played Saracens last Friday night at the Stoop in their home opener and got whitewashed 0-39.

OFFENCE - Good in transition for a few phases but once opp D got organised they went nowhere. Pressure from Sarries meant Evans couldn't get anything going in 1st half and it wasn't any easier for Botica in 2nd. Only combination anywhere near being productive was starting back three of Lindsay-Hague, Yarde and Brown but as a XV they were never at the races.

DEFENCE - Too easy for Sarries to get past first line with offloading & support. Were it not for a couple of super try-saving tackles from Brown we could have had a "fifty-burger". To be fair Quins had to put young back row sub in at outside centre for last 30m but they were already 0-19 down.

SCRUMS - Generally struggled to create any kind of platform, front row problems mainly on loosehead side.

LINEOUTS - Targets - Robson, Matthews, Robshaw. A couple of dodgy darts from Joe Gray. Lineout/mauls in attacking situations just not good enough, had at least half a dozen goes at it.

BREAKDOWN - Sarries D was impressive but also Quins clearing out was woefully slow. Hard to believe back row included the experience of Robshaw & Easter.

DISCIPLINE - Sarries amassed 39 points with only 3 tries. Nuff said!


Robshaw - early handling error but did what he could. 
Brown - dropped first garryowen but grew into game and stopped a couple of certain tries.  
Lindsay-Hague - good turn of pace. 
Evans - misdirected early kicks incl chargedown by Hodgson.
Turner-Hall - crash ball carrier at 12 but dropped one.  
Marler - showed some leadership with good tackle at start of second half but not much else.
Care - hadn't a hope of playing at his preferred quick tempo

VERDICT - Obviously if the versions of both Leinster & Quins from last weekend meet in the RCC next December, it will only be good news for us. But we all know Conor O'Shea has all the ability to drag his squad up and make this tonking an aberration on their record. Still ... if Leinster's D can match that of Mark McCall's men last Friday, and that's definitely a possibility, Quins will struggle to find a way through.

NEXT WEEK - After watching both clubs lose to Sarries in this series so far, Quins host Wasps on Saturday so we'll have a look at 2 of Leinster's opponents at once. Don't worry, we'll get to Castres. They probably won't mind us giving them another week anyway. JLP


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019