Harlequins 30 Warrington 28: Paul heaps more woe on Wolves

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Harlequins defied a lack of possession and gruelling conditions to produce a performance of character to take them into seventh place in the Superleague.

Expertly guided by Henry Paul, who finished with 14 points for a try and five goals, they completed a miserable week for Warrington. The Wolves were knocked out of the Challenge Cup by Hull KR last Sunday and, although they finished close on the scoreboard yesterday, they deserved nothing from a match which dented their Superleague aspirations.

"The chase is on," said Tony Rea, of the Quins' own play-off prospects. "We had a lot of defending to do. We were getting hammered at times and if one man had let us down it would have been a different ball game."

Quins' victory was built on inspired defence and attacking flair on the rare occasions when they got into Warrington territory.

Ben Westwood was denied an early Warrington try for a double movement before Michael Worrincy came up with a candidate for tackle of the season by chasing down Henry Fa'afili.

Worrincy, one of the young Londoners on whom the club's future rests, distinguished himself at the other end, showing pace and agility to go through and score from Luke Dorn's pass. By the 14th minute, his side were further ahead. Paul, exuding composure at full-back, had his kick charged down but reacted quickly to reclaim the ball and launch a raid down the right, finding Rob Purdham with an overarm pass. Purdham, a shining light for Quins in recent weeks, had the speed and confidence to go for the line himself and make it.

Quins could have had a third try, on the back of deft handling down the left touchline and Joe Mbu's driving run, but they spent most of the rest of the first half defending. How well was illustrated by Purdham's wonderful effort to bring down Richie Barnett.

Paul's composure temporarily deserted him when his pass was intercepted by Lee Briers to bring Warrington back into it at the start of the second half.

That could have been the beginning of the end, but Quins dug deep with tries from Pat Weisner and Paul, plus Paul's fifth goal.

Logan Swann went over from Briers' long pass, but again the Londoners found the energy for one more effort as Solomon Haumono lunged over the line. Three tries in the last six minutes, two from Simon Grix and one from Barnett, put a cosmetic gloss on the final score, but the Warrington coach, Paul Cullen, was left to rue those missed opportunities.

Harlequins: Paul; Smith, Purdham, Luisi, Bradley-Qalilawa; Weisner, Dorn; Temata, Randall, Mills, Haumono, Worrincy, Mbu. Substitutes used: Budworth, Heckenberg, Tookey, Lolhea.

Warrington: Grose; Fa'afili, Martin Gleeson, Kohe-Love, Barnett; Briers, Bridge; Leikvoll, Clarke, Wood, Swann, Wainwright, Westwood. Substitutes used: Hilton,Mark Gleeson, Lima, Grix.

Referee: R Silverwood (Mirfield).