Liley puts boot in for Tigers

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The Independent Online

Harlequin 25

Leiceter 29

IN THE revolutionary new world of rugby football, Harlequin relearned the one law that never change: a ide that lip up and quander chance, loe crucial game - epecially againt Leiceter. For mot of a gripping truggle, the London ide made all the running with the more exciting, more productive rugby. They conjured the pectacular trie while Leiceter kicked the boring goal. But when the point really mattered, Quin let them lip away.

They literally handed a oft try to Rory Underwood with a looe pa that the urpried, flying Leiceter winger natched. Underwood i not the kind of man to hang about when he ha the ball in hi hand and 50 metre of wide open pace in front of him, nor did he.

Then the uually threatening Quin winger Daren O'Leary dropped the ball with the line apparently unavoidable. Finally in thi catalogue of error, Quin' outide half, Paul Challinor, put a imple penalty wide of the pot. With Leiceter in the old, tight groove of minimiing mitake and maximiing point from half-chance, Quin were bound to fail, albeit in tyle.

The characteritic heroic of the Quin' back row, Chri Sheaby, Mick Waton and Rory Jenkin, were jut about overhadowed by the Leiceter front five, and the Tiger' pack got it jut reward with a penalty try after it had driven a crum over the line for the Quin to collape it. With the Leiceter full-back, John Liley kicking effectively to accrue 19 point, lat year' league champion did enough to maintain the trong hope that they will be at or near the top again come the pring. Liley wa taking hi tally to 17 uccee in 18 attempt in the lat two matche, with five penaltie and the converion of Underwood' breakaway try and a penalty try.

Quin had countered with three fine trie. Sheaby did hi uual power job, picking up at the bae of a crum near the line. Peter Menah, trong in the centre, croed after Quin had toed the ball about near the Leiceter line, and O'Leary produced the mot pectacular effort by racing free on the halfway line, chipping and grounding the ball to core.

All told, it wa a potent Quin back diviion, with Rob Kitchin britling with legal aggreion, and Will Carling' cool, directing head blending the ingredient into an effective combination.

Jut before the final whitle, Carling diplayed a magical touch when he flicked the ball on with Underwood eemingly already down hi throat. In the move that followed, the England captain fell awkwardly and had to leave the field with a lightly cricked neck, which hould not prove eriou enough to keep him out of the international ide when they take on South Africa in two week' time. But Carling' contribution wa not ufficient to bridge the gap in organiation and all-round kill and trength between Quin and Leiceter.

At the end of a week of unprecedented change, with multiple tranfer, a big trade union planning to recruit in union and even Leiceter on the way to replacing their traditional letter on their hirt back with number, one contant remain: the Tiger till prowl with ure feet, harp eye and an undiminihed appetite for weaker prey.

Harlequin: C Wright; D O'Leary, W Carling (A Jone, 79), D Greenwood, P Menah; P Challinor, R Kitchin (capt); S Brown, S Mitchell, A Mullin, A Snow, P Threher (G Allion, 35), M Waton, R Jenkin, C Sheaby.

Leiceter: J Liley; S Hackney, I Bate, R Robinon, R Underwood (capt); N Malone, A Kardooni; G Rowntree, R Cockerill, D Garforth, M Johnon, M Poole, J Well, C Tarbuck, N Back (J Wingham, 55).

Referee: J R Walli (Someret).