Planet Rugby

Botica penalty breaks Scarlets' hearts

19th January 2014 17:02

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Ollie Lindsay Hague of Harlequins slips the tackle of Scott Williams of Scarlets

Try for Quins: Ollie Lindsay-Hague

Harlequins sneaked into the quarter-finals of the Challenge Cup thanks to a 22-20 Heineken Cup victory over Scarlets in Llanelli on Sunday.

Replacement fly-half Ben Botica's penalty three minutes from time was enough for Connor O'Shea's men to sneak through, but they were made to work for it by a desperately unlucky Scarlets.

A game which saw some thrilling running rugby, and three tries a piece, gives Quins a tough trip to Stade Franšais in the quarter finals of the Europe's second-tier competition.

Defeat for Scarlets means that every Welsh side has been eliminated from European competitions.

Both teams came out of the blocks with purpose and desire. After some end to end exchanges, a superb move by the Scarlets saw the game come to life.

A superb offload by captain Rob McCusker fed in scrum half Gareth Davies, who's one handed finish gave him his first ever Heineken Cup try.

With Scarlets down to 14 men, the Quins hit back thanks mainly to a superb long pass from Nick Evans. His looping throw missed out two opposition players and found Mike Brown all alone in the corner to slide in. Evans then stepped up to level the scores.

Harlequins' second try was yet another top quality score. Brown turned provider with a nice inside ball to give Ollie Lindsay-Hague a simple run to the line for his first Heineken Cup try in his first appearance.

Rhys Priestland's penalty looked to be the last act of the half until a brilliant piece of opportunism from Aaron Shingler. Karl Dickson looked to protect the ball at the back of a ruck which was on his own try line, only for Shingler to burst through and touch the ball down.

Referee Jerome Garces felt satisfied that the ball was out and Scarlets went into the dressing room with a one-point lead.

The lead changed hands once again after the break. Dickson, taking the ball from the back of a scrum, threw a dummy which beat two players and darted over the swing the score back in his sides favour.

Scott Williams scored the game's sixth try just 10 minutes into the second half, scrambling over from close range in what was turning out to be a breathless encounter.

With the clock ticking over, the game was still in the balance going into the last ten minutes with both teams showing bright moments only to be let down by unforced errors.

Botica's winning kick was preceded by a mass brawl, but the replacement fly-half kept his cool to kick Harlequins into the Challenge Cup quarters.

The scorers:

For Scarlets:
Tries: Davies, Shingler, S.Williams
Con: Priestland
Pen: Priestland
Yellow card: Shingler

For Harelquins:
Tries: Brown, Lindsay-Hague, Dickson
Cons: Evans 2
Pen: Botica

Scarlets: 15 Aled Thomas, 14 Kristian Phillips, 13 Gareth Maule, 12 Scott Williams, 11 Jordan Williams, 10 Rhys Priestland, 9 Gareth Davies, 8 Rob McCusker (c), 7 John Barclay, 6 Aaron Shingler, 5 Jake Ball, 4 George Earle, 3 Samson Lee, 2 Emyr Phillips, 1 Phil John
Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Rob Evans, 18 Jacobie Adriaanse, 19 Johan Snyman, 20 Josh Turnbull, 21 Rhodri Williams, 22 Adam Warren, 23 Gareth Owen

Harelquins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tim Molenaar, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Luke Wallace, 5 George Robson, 4 Nick Kennedy, 3 Will Collier, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Paul Doran Jones, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Sam Stuart, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Tom Williams

Venue: Parc y Scarlets
Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra)
Assistant referees: Patrick Pechambert, Maxime Chalon (both Fra)
TMO: Jean-Marie Piraveau (Fra)

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