Harlequins 22 Huddersfield 16: Paul's latest conversion keeps Quins believing

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The Independent Online

Nick Bradley-Qalilawa's first two tries of the season gave another big name a winning return to rugby league last night.

Henry Paul's first game of league since 2001 went smoothly enough as he played over half the game at left centre. "It's faster than I remember it," he said afterwards. "I'm just chuffed to have got a win with the guys, not to have missed any tackles, just to have played my part.''

His new coach, Tony Rea, was delighted. "I thought he was outstanding,'' he said. "Every touch was uncomplicated. We couldn't have made it much harder for him, but he handled it really well.''

The Paul factor no doubt persuaded some rugby union supporters from the first half of the day's double-header to stick around out of curiosity, though Paul began on the bench and would have seen his new team-mates go behind but for Mark McLinden's tackle to hold up Michael de Vere.

The Quins captain was also instrumental in taking the lead midway through the half. David Mills made the inroads but McLinden did the damage with a dummying run to the line. Joe Mbu had another home try disallowed before Quins struck again, Mills running on to Thomas Leuluai's pass to go over.

That was the signal for Paul to come into the game, but he could do nothing as Brad Drew exploded out of dummy-half to set up Stuart Jones. Paul then missed a long-range penalty.

Two minutes into the second half, Huddersfield were just two points behind, thanks to Drew charging down Luke Dorn's kick and Robbie Paul kicking through for James Evans to score.

Lovely handling by Lee Hopkins and Leuluai set up the first of Bradley-Qalilawa's brace to put Harlequins a score clear, and when Eorl Crabtree lost the ball near his own line, McLinden and Leuluai moved it out quickly for the wing's second. Paul finally landed a goal.

Stuart Donlan's late try kept Huddersfield interested until the final hooter, but it was Harlequins' night, and especially Henry Paul's.

Harlequins: McLinden; Lucky Luisi, Smith, Purdham, Bradley-Qalilawa; Dorn, Leuluai; Temata, Randall, Tookey, Haumono, Hopkins, Williams. Substitutes used: Mbu, Budworth, Mills, H Paul.

Huddersfield: Reilly; Aspinwall, Evans, De Vere, Donlan; March, R Paul; Jackson, Drew, Gannon, Nero, Jones, Wild. Substitutes used: Crabtree, Smith, Raleigh, Hemingway.

Referee: A Klein (Keighley).