As my Good Friday went on so the conditions for taking photos deteriorated, so only a handful here. Leaving Tottenham slightly early I took off back along the A406, I saw far too much of that road for my liking! But, I arrived in plenty of time and was able to touch base with my lovely Quins friends Sue and Henry and England Rose Army friends Andrea and Matt.
At the business end of the season Harlequins found themselves with a very tough run in. Vying for 6th place and European rugby with Northampton Saints, they played Saracens at Wembley, losing by 40 to 19, a scoreline that wasn’t representative of the effort put in by Quins. This Good Friday clash with the team placed second in the league would be a tough test.
To come is a home game against leaders Wasps and a possible ‘winner takes all’ game on the final weekend of regular season games, away at Northampton Saints. To a great degree Europe is in their hands, although results and scores in this round would see Saints take that 6th spot.
Exeter Chiefs have been in a fine run of form, having been involved in a 35 apiece draw against Wasps in February the Chiefs went into this match on a winning run of 7 games, would Quins be able to halt them as they had Saracens at the Stoop earlier in the season?
I’d paid £62 for my seat, in a nearly full house Quins can of course afford to charge what people will pay, but that is pretty steep! I am however a fan of watching rugby at the Stoop and will be heading back for that Wasps match.
It’s really only when you see the Chiefs up close that you get an understanding of just how big their forwards are, big, yet very mobile. As far as the season’s stats are concerned so far it’s no surprise to see that Chiefs have made the most carries, although Wasps top the tree with metres made, with Chiefs a close second. Harlequins are second on carries as well as clean breaks so with home advantage Quins were in a good place.
One of those big forwards scored the first try for his Chiefs, Dave Ewers, going at a pace that belied his size ran in to score a try a back would have been happy with. He’s a player who’s been unlucky with injury at vital times as far as England are concerned, hopefully he’ll get his chance soon.
Quins had made the scoreboard first, with Mat Luamanu touching down to the delight of the home crowd.
Michele Campagnaro, who seems to have ‘gone blond’ scored with 5 minutes of the half remaining, Slade converted this one and had added a penalty earlier in the half. Nick Evans had converted 2 penalties, which all adds up to a score of Harlequins 11 Exeter Chiefs 15 at half time.
Nick Evans, playing in one of his final games, the news has come today, scored a breakaway try as he intercepted a pass to run at full speed, a speed I hadn’t seen from him before, to score a great try!
Lachie Turner, however, scored the try of the game on 64 minutes, chipping the ball over the head of the Quins defender, he gathered the ball to run in and score, it was a shout out loud exciting try! Gareth Steenson had come on as a sub and he duly converted the try to move Chiefs ahead again.
Henry Slade showed that anything Turner could do he could to, in a very similar scenario he chipped, chased and collected to score the bonus point try, Steenson added the extras. Chiefs were on a roll and Turner added his second try of the evening. There was just time for Tim Visser to score a consolation try for Harlequins, but by the final score was Harlequins 26 Exeter Chiefs 39, this was only the second loss at home for Quins this season, the Chiefs, looking firm in 2nd place in the Premiership will be hoping it’s the last home loss for Quins this season.