Planet Rugby

Harlequins join Stade at summit

18th October 2008 16:57

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Danny Care scores v Ulster

Pole position: Care celebrates his side's third try

Harlequins followed up last week's vital away success in Wales with a 42-21 bonus-point win over lowly Ulster at the Stoop on Saturday.

The English side demolished their opponents to make it two wins out of two from their opening Heineken Cup Pool Four matches with scrum-half Danny Care starring in front of Martin Johnson.

Care, the man in possession of the England number nine jersey following the summer tour to New Zealand, scored a superb opportunist try and caused Ulster all sorts of trouble.

He manufactured two more tries before blotting his copy book when he was sin-binned in the 50th minute for coming in from an offside position and knocking the ball out of the hands of Ulster scrum-half Cillian Williams.

Ulster, who arrived in Twickenham only 45 minutes before kick-off after being stuck in traffic between their hotel and the ground, soon made up for lost time.

There were only 176 seconds on the clock when 21-year-old Fijian summer signing Timoci Nagusa raced in for their opening try.

Hooker Rory Best found David Pollock at the tail of the line-out and, although he was hauled down, the visitors moved the ball out wide to creat the overlap for Nagusa, with fly-half Niall O'Connor landing the difficult conversion to put his side 7-0 ahead.

Harlequins recovered from the early setback, replying with four first-half tries to secure what could prove to be a valuable bonus point by half-time.

Fly-half Chris Malone opened their account with a penalty after full-back Mike Brown was taken out late by Ulster flanker Mike McCullough in the fifth minute.

Nine minutes later, quick-thinking Care's tap penalty and dash split the Ulster defence before his pass enabled centre Jordan Turner-Hall to power over.

Malone was off target with the conversion and a penalty and he missed again after Harlequins took advantage of their temporary numerical advantage to score their second try after McCullough was yellow-carded in the 27th minute when his side, who conceded a stream of penalties throughout the match, were punished yet again at the breakdown.

Spurning the opportunity to kick for goal, Malone put the ball into touch in the right-hand corner, Quins won the resulting line-out and Care's final pass sent Williams over near the corner flag.

Ignoring another shot at goal, Malone drilled a penalty into the left-hand corner, the ball was flicked off the back of the line-out and Care burst through to dive over between the posts, leaving Malone an easy kick.

The bonus point came in the final minute of the first half when Ugo Monye, switched from the wing to the centre for this match, was blatantly obstructed by opposite number Darren Cave as he chased a through kick from Malone and Welsh referee Tim Hayes awarded a penalty try, which Malone again improved.

The one-way traffic continued into the second half, which was only two minutes old when Williams threaded a kick through the ragged Ulster rearguard for Brown to win the chase, collect and dive over the line, with Malone floating over his conversion from the left touchline to stretch the lead to 34-7.

Ulster then mounted a second-half revival, striking twice in the space of five minutes. Left-wing Andrew Trimble provided the pass for centre Paddy Wallace to race in and then Cave made the break to lay on a try for Trimble.

With O'Connor converting both, Ulster had cut the deficit to thirteen points but any hopes of a dramatic turnaround were soon dashed when Malone hoisted a huge cross-field kick straight into the arms of Williams who collected to cross for his second try in the 60th minute.

Malone kicked his second penalty in the 64th minute to take his personal tally to twelve points and former England scrum-half Andy Gomarsall replaced Care in the 62nd minute to provide a new set of problems for Ulster as his chip kick just failed to find Nick Easter to cap a clinical win.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:

Tries: Turner-Hall, Williams 2, Care, Penalty, Brown

Con: Malone 3

Pen: Malone 2

For Ulster:

Tries: Nagusa, Wallace, Trimble

Con: O'Connor 3

Yellow card: McCullough (Ulster on 27 mins), Care (Harlequins on 51 mins)

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Ugo Monye, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Charlie Amesbury, 10 Chris Malone, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner (c), 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 Jim Evans, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 Mike Ross, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Ceri Jones.

Replacements: 16 Tani Fuga, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 George Robson, 19 Tom Guest, 20 Andy Gomarsall, 21 Tosh Masson, 22 Waisea Luveniyali.

Ulster: 15 Bryn Cunningham, 14 Timoci Nagusa, 13 Darren Cave, 12 Paddy Wallace, 11 Andrew Trimble, 10 Niall O'Connor, 9 Cillian Willis, 8 Robbie Diack, 7 David Pollock, 6 Matt McCullough, 5 Ryan Caldwell, 4 Carlo del Fava, 3 BJ Botha, 2 Rory Best (c), 1 Tom Court.

Replacements: 16 Nigel Brady, 17 Justin Fitzpatrick, 18 Ed O'Donoghue, 19 Kieran Dawson, 20 Isaac Boss, 20 Ian Humphreys, 22 Rob Dewey.

Referee: Tim Hayes (Wales)

Touch judges: David Bodily (Wales), Alan Jenkins (Wales)

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