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Match Report: Harlequins 18 Wigan 8
Posted by Bilko on June 03 2007 - 19:02

Click: Last Match - Click: Next Match

Harlequins v Wigan Warriors. Engage Super League XII Round 16.
Saturday 2nd June 2007. Kick Off 3:00pm at Twickenham Stoop.

Thoughts on the Match

First of all what an absolutely outstanding following from our supporters down there on Saturday. I made a long journey on the train which was tough so to have up to 2,000 supporters down there is unbelievable. I, like many other Wigan fans, can say they've witnessed Wigan win the lot but to me their is nothing more prouder than our support which have stuck together in recent tough times.

On the pitch, well I can't work them out. It was like Huddersfield away in April, we just toiled in the hot sun and to me this highlights the lack of prop depth on our bench. Maybe this was a game where we needed Feka on the bench because in the middle of the game we needed a lift from somewhere, and it never came. It no coincidence that Harlequins hadn't scored until Feka went off the pitch as he always does at the 20 minutes ish mark. You can't blame Feka for going off, you need something more than very young props coming on and that is where we fall short, especially in the hot heat. I'm not saying the likes of Prescott and O'Carroll are poor, they are not, but we need a older bigger head to come on with impact.

Having said that, the Quins pack isn't the biggest so you have to also point the finger at the backs. They just didn't turn up to me. Very, very poor showing. No spark at all and someone needs to step up to the plate other than Trent Barrett. Barrett can't do it all the time so someone else needs to come to the fore. Thomas Leuluai produces some great kicks but I can't think of anything special with ball in hand from him this season. I don't think we should expect much more from Trent Barrett. He's leading round a set of backs which in the main are just not up to it, especially our centres. I've said it before and I'll say it again, David Vaealiki in my opinion has been an absolutely disgraceful signing. I can still here all night and I will not remember one bit of brilliance or a memorable moment that he has produced in his 3 seasons here. I wouldn't even play him. I'd let Darrell Goulding play in his place. Barrett has scored 12 now this season and that is a great return but he shouldn't be carried the whole set of backs on his shoulders. The others need to step up on a more consistent basis.

At the end of the day I would rather win the cup tie on Friday than this one. I still feel the cup is a realistic target because when we put our minds to it we are a top of the table side. But our problem is producing top of table form every week and with this squad we won't ever find that form. We need to be patient and wait for next year when we can get a proper prop rotation and some decent centres. Considering that weakness in our side, 4th in the table (which should be our aim this year in the league) and still in the cup is good going and we should all remember that.

Story of the Match

Paul Sykes claimed 14 points as Harlequins grabbed an important psychological advantage over Challenge Cup opponents Wigan.

Both teams grabbed two tries apiece but the boot of Sykes proved decisive as the former Bradford centre finished with a 100% kicking record.

In contrast, Wigan failed to kick a single goal to allow Quins to draw level with them on 16 points in the engage Super League.

The teams clash again at the JJB stadium on Friday night but the London side will go there full of confidence after bagging their fourth win in five games.

The visitors included Thomas Leuluai in their line-up after he was cleared of a slide tackle against Hull last week.

And it was almost inevitable the former Quins man would have a hand in the game's opening try.

With four minutes gone Pat Richards broke down the left-hand side and found Leuluai who played in full-back Chris Ashton to touch down.

Richards missed the kick on goal and was again left frustrated on 15 minutes when he sent a penalty crashing against the left post.Sykes

Harlequins weathered the early pressure and enjoyed some decent possession which was eventually rewarded on 28 minutes.

Matthew Gafa's clever pass sent Sykes clear and the 25-year-old converted his own try.

And the home side went into the break even happier when another Sykes kick gave Quins a four-point lead.

Gafa went from provider to finisher eight minutes after the break.

Mark McLinden made the break and former Wigan stand-half Danny Orr set up Gafa to power home under the posts.

Sykes maintained his perfect record with the conversion and hit another penalty to put Quins 16-4 up.

But Wigan refused to roll over and they hit back on 62 minutes when Trent Barrett raced clear down the left to touch down in the corner.

Orr nearly finished the game off but he was hauled down metres short of the try-line.

Instead it was left to Sykes to deliver the final blow when he stroked over his fifth kick of the day after Wigan second-row Gareth Hock was sin-binned.

Game Breaking Moment

The kick off whistle. Wigan were still on the coach playing cards.

Top Player

Pat Richards - Simply for the fend on Chris Melling and the dummy which fooled Mark McLinden which was pivotal to the opening score for the Ashton try.

Reaction to the Action

Brian Noble: "We have to find an answer because one week we are getting Jekyll and one week we are getting Hyde. It's frustrating to have some people setting themselves really high standards one week but not living up to them the next. I am disappointed that we can't get an element of consistency in our game."

Harlequins Coach Brian McDermott: "We will play a different Wigan side on Friday but I have no problem with playing them twice in a week. We have a formula that works against Wigan and we have upset them today. But we are more concerned about our game and our focus is to get fitter and fill up our tanks for the Challenge Cup."

Team Sheets

- Harlequins Position Wigan -
16 Chris Melling Full Back Chris Ashton 1
2 Jon Wells Winger Mark Calderwood 2
3 Paul Sykes Centre Phil Bailey 3
4 Tyrone Smith Centre David Vaealiki 14
19 Tony Clubb Winger Pat Richards 5
7 Danny Orr Stand Off Trent Barrett 6
1 Mark McLinden Scrum Half Thomas Leuluai 7
8 Karl Temata Prop Stuart Fielden 8
9 Chad Randall Hooker Shane Millard 16
15 David Mills Prop Iafeta Paleaaesina 10
18 Matt Gafa 2nd Row Gareth Hock 11
12 Lee Hopkins 2nd Row Bryan Fletcher 12
6 Scott Hill L.Forward Sean O'Loughlin 13
- - - - -
14 Julien Rinaldi Substitute Mick Higham 9
22 Michael Worrincy Substitute Paul Prescott 18
26 Joe Walsh Substitute Harrison Hansen 19
29 Joe Mbu Substitute Eamon O'Carroll 24

Score Sheet

Harlequins 18 - Wigan Warriors 8
Tries (2):
Paul Sykes
Matt Gafa
- Tries (2):
Chris Ashton
Trent Barrett
Paul Sykes 5/5
- Goals:
Pat Richards 0/2

Scoring and Incident Pattern

6th Minute Harlequins 00 Wigan 04 Try: Chris Ashton
- Harlequins 00 Wigan 04 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/1)
27th Minute Harlequins 04 Wigan 04 Try: Paul Sykes
- Harlequins 06 Wigan 04 Conversion: Paul Sykes (1/1)
38th Minute Harlequins 08 Wigan 04 Penalty Goal: Paul Sykes (2/2)
Half Time Harlequins 08 Wigan Warriors 04
48th Minute Harlequins 12 Wigan 04 Try: Matt Gafa
- Harlequins 14 Wigan 04 Conversion: Paul Sykes (3/3)
56th Minute Harlequins 16 Wigan 04 Penalty Goal: Paul Sykes (4/4)
61st Minute Harlequins 16 Wigan 08 Try: Trent Barrett
- Harlequins 16 Wigan 08 P.Richards Missed Conversion (0/2)
72nd Minute Harlequins 18 Wigan 08 Penalty Goal: Paul Sykes (5/5)
Full Time Harlequins 18 Wigan Warriors 08


Ashley Klein

Match Attendance


League Table at Conclusion of Super League 12 Round 16

- Team P W D L F A Diff Pts
1 St Helens 16 12 0 4 513 267 +246 24
2 Leeds Rhinos 16 12 0 4 460 297 +163 24
3 Bradford Bulls 16 11 0 5 514 391 +123 22
4 Wigan Warriors 16 8 0 8 370 335 +35 16
5 Harlequins 16 7 2 7 317 373 -56 16
6 Huddersfield Giants 16 7 1 8 386 251 +135 15
7 Wakefield Wildcats 16 7 1 8 349 417 -68 15
8 Hull FC 16 6 2 8 282 320 -38 14
9 Catalans Dragons 16 6 1 9 349 409 -60 13
10 Warrington Wolves 16 6 0 10 340 462 -122 12
11 Hull Kingston Rovers 16 6 0 10 262 385 -123 12
12 Salford City Reds 16 4 1 11 292 527 -235 9

Round 16 Results
Fri 1 June Leeds Rhinos 42 Warrington Wolves 26 15,873
Fri 1 June St Helens 27 Salford City Reds 26 7,801
Sat 2 June Harlequins 18 Wigan Warriors 8 5,657
Sat 2 June Catalan Dragons 20 Bradford Bulls 28 7,555
Sun 3 June Hull FC 9 Huddersfield Giants 9 12,094
Sun 3 June Wakefield Wildcats 30 Hull Kingston Rovers 15 6,107

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