Quins kids' show - Richards hails rookies


Last updated at 21:04 23 March 2008

Dean Richards last night acclaimed his 'young boys' for once again doing a man's job, as Harlequins secured a fifth win in six matches and a bonus point to soar into the Guinness Premiership play-off zone. The London club's exciting team of tyros made light of Bristol's formidable forward power to score four tries with a display of clinical finishing.

They now lie fourth in the table,

with significant momentum behind

them coming into the business end

of the season. Even though their

famously restrained director of

rugby is not yet prepared to suggest

a genuine title challenge is possible,

he is delighted by the progress of his


Mike Brown

Reaching for success: Mike Brown touches down for Harlequins despite Tom Arscott’s attention

"Credit to the young boys again,

they are playing very well and learning with every game," said

Richards. "But there is still a long

way to go this season. We are

delighted to be in the top four

but there are still a lot of difficult

games left to play."

There were eye - catching

displays from England scrum

half-in-waiting, Danny Care, and

inside centre Jordan Turner-Hall,

but Richards was most enthused

by No 8 Tom Guest. He is playing

well enough to leave a World Cup

finalist fighting for his place.

"Nick Easter came back from

England with a knee injury and

he couldn't train all week, so we

didn't even consider him," said

Richards. "The way Tom is playing,

there is no automatic right to

get back into the team."

The startling aspect of Quins'

achievement was that they managed

to perform this smash-andgrab

raid despite being battered

by the Bristol pack. When the

home side earned a penalty try in

the 51st minute, it appeared that

their strong-arm tactics were

having the desired effect.

Three successive penalties in

the visitors' 22 were kicked to the

corner, three successive lineouts

were safely won and three successive

rolling mauls were hauled

down en route to the line. Referee

David Rose ran out of patience

and duly awarded Bristol five

points and a conversion under

the posts, which Ed Barnes

kicked for a 15-8 advantage.

At that stage, Richard Hill's

men seemed destined to grind

their opponents into the mud, but in the event they didn't manage

another point. Three minutes

later, replacement Chris Malone

landed a penalty to haul Harlequins

back into the match and on

the hour the fightback began.

Adrian Jarvis paved the way for

his team's second try with a deft

cross-kick which was taken by

Charlie Amesbury. The wing was

tackled but the ball was recycled

quickly. Care released Mike

Brown on the burst and the full

back broke Luke Arscott's tackle

and stretched out to touch down.

The tricky conversion was dispatched

by Jarvis to put Harlequins

18-15 ahead against the

club he is joining in the summer.

Although the fly half missed a

subsequent penalty from near

halfway, another try stemmed

from another attack down the

left flank in the 67th minute.

Amesbury broke into space and

passed inside to Brown, who

scorched through a gap towards

the line. He was stopped just

short but again the ball was recycled

rapidly, the pack rumbled

forward and substitute hooker

Gary Botha was forced over.

Bristol defiantly launched a

series of prolonged attacks, but

with the wind against them and

Barnes having a bad day with the

boot, kickable penalties were

instead directed into touch.

Then they were hit by a sucker

punch two minutes from time.

Matt Salter's pass towards Jason

Strange on halfway was intercepted

by George Robson and

the lock galloped away to score

idespite David Lemi's chase and

tackle. Again the conversion was

missed by Malone, but the bonus

point was in the bag.

Earlier, Care had given another

glimpse of his ability when he lit

the fuse for a brilliant first try by

Harlequins. Taking a quick tap

penalty in his own half, he

accelerated through a crowded

midfield and into the Bristol half

before releasing Guest. He

picked out Amesbury who shook

off Tom Arscott's tackle to score.

Although the same Arscott hit

back with a try of his own and

Bristol went into the break level

at 8-8, they didn't have the

momentum to deny Quins.

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