Bridge scores four as Wolves tear Quins to pieces

Harlequins 24 Warrington Wolves 54
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The Independent Online

Warrington's Chris Bridge set his coach a selection poser for next Saturday's Challenge Cup quarter-final against Wigan, with a four-try display in the unfamiliar role of loose forward. Apart from his own tries, the England centre had a hand in several more as the Wolves had what turned into a gentle warm-up fixture won by half-time.

"He was very dangerous," said Tony Smith, the Wolves' coach, of Bridge. "I like him in that roving role, but he's a pretty good centre as well and we have to think about the best way to use him."

There were slight alarms ahead of next weekend, when the prop forward Ben Harrison tweaked a hamstring in the warm-up and later when the former Australia centre Matt King was carried off on a stretcher, after a blow to the head. Both are expected to be fit to face Wigan.

Quins were sick of the sight of Warrington long before yesterday. Back in March, they went to the Halliwell Jones Stadium as recent league leaders and the winners of four of their first five Super League games. They were flogged 82-6 and then won only one of their next 16 matches. That is a tailspin that they showed no sign of pulling out of yesterday.

If anything, the opening stages were even more one-sided than the clubs' first meeting of the season. After the Warrington prop Garreth Carvell had scored from Michael Monaghan's charge-down, after 90 seconds, Bridge began his persecution of the Quins with his first two tries. The only bright moment for the home side was the scrum-half Luke Gale's try, following his own kick. Even after that and the loss of King, however, the Wolves continued the mayhem.

Bridge laid on a try for the Australian wing Joel Monaghan and some more fancy ball-handling produced tries for the stand-off Lee Briers and Bridge before half-time.

When Bridge's fourth try and a solo from the scrum-half, Richie Myler, stretched the lead still further, another80-pointer was on the cards. But to their credit, Quins won back some pride in the second half.

Luke Dorn got a try and the young stand-off Dan Sarginson scored a rather brilliant one to underline his rich potential. Even after Paul Wood scored Warrington's ninth try, Quins managed to have the last word, through Andy Ellis.

Of Harlequins' efforts, Smith said: "They played some good stuff and deserved their points." The other factor was that Warrington were easing up and looking forward to next weekend's mouth-watering cup tie.

For the Quins coach, Rob Powell, there was no real sign of an end to his team's depressing run of results, but there were at least some encouraging green shoots for the long-term future. In Sarginson the club have a locally produced player who is a potential star.

"He's got a really promising future in the game," Powell said. "He's hard to tackle when he has the ball in his hands and he's the sort of kid we have to develop down here."

Harlequins Dorn; Calderwood, Clubb, O'Callaghan, Melling; Sarginson, Gale; Ward, Randall, Wilkes, Mitchell, Purdham, Bailey. Substitutes used Ambler, Krasniqi, Ellis, Golden.

Warrington Hodgson; J Monaghan, King, Atkins, Williams; Briers, Myler; Wood, M Monaghan, Carvell, Anderson, Grix, Bridge. Substitutes used Higham, Clarke, Westwood, Blythe.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).