Rugby Union: Cardiff believe in poetic justice as Lacroix misses

Harlequins 31 Cardiff 32

Harlequins 31

Cardiff 32

Rumours were rife that immediately after this Heineken Cup Pool D confrontation Cardiff would get on to their coach, steaming not just from their post- match shower but also from the ill-feeling that had hung around following the previous meeting between these two clubs as well as a couple more grouses from this latest clash, and take themselves back down the M4 motorway, with not a pause for a pie or a pint in the clubhouse.

In fact they stayed, had a few bevvies, and the odd beef, before heading west but all was not well. One Cardiff player said of Thierry Lacroix's last-minute penalty miss which could have won the game for Harlequins: "There was a certain poetic justice in that." Lacroix had been the subject of Cardiff claims that he had allegedly kicked one of their players in the head in their first encounter two weeks ago. Quins refused to take action after viewing the incident from a different angle, thus incurring Cardiff displeasure. That was the match after which Quins cited the lock Tony Rees for a crude tap dance on Gareth Llewellyn. Rees picked up a 90-day ban as a result.

While Cardiff channelled their aggression into a breathtaking first half performance which eclipsed Harlequins, they had time afterwards to reflect on what they felt were some unnecessary and ugly moments in a stirring second half during which Quins' Laurent Cabannes was shown the yellow card after clashing with Mike Hall.

The Cardiff centre suffered severely bruised ribs and had to leave the fray and there were dark mutterings from the Welsh camp about taking the matter further if the injury were more than bruising. Two years ago Cardiff, acting for Hall, persuaded Llanelli to pay pounds 1,000 for loss of earnings after Tony Copsey broke Hall's jaw and put him out of the game for five weeks.

Cardiff were also unhappy with one or two other incidents in the match involving the Lacroix and Quins lock Bill Davison. Jonathan Humphreys, their captain, said: "We are not a side to go round citing players, that is not our style."

The Cardiff coach Alex Evans added: "We will be inviting Harlequins to look at the video."

Andy Keast, the London club's director of rugby, needs no prompting in that area. "I will study the video before anyone has a chance to send it to me. I will go through it and if I feel there is action to be taken in-house, then I will take it. I do not need telling about something like that."

Thankfully the niggles and grumbles about isolated incidents took nothing away from what turned out to be a great spectacle. Quins could not live with Cardiff in the first half, the Welsh club would have done a recycling plant proud so efficient were the forwards at delivering the ball into the eager hands of their backs.

They set out their stall after 26 seconds when Lee Jarvis was allowed the space and the time to land a drop goal. Robert Howley, Steve Williams and and Leigh Davies scored a try apiece and Jarvis converted the lot.

Victory looked in the bag until a spirited Harlequins opened it after the restart and ran at Cardiff from everywhere with two of their tries springing from moves begun in their 22.

If Lacroix's conversion of Laurent Belligoi's first try had gone over instead of hitting an upright, or if the Frenchman had been on target with a penalty in the last moments of the match Quins would have rivalled Lazarus for coming back from the dead.

As it was Welsh honour, to a degree, was satisfied. Now all Harlequins have to do to clinch a quarter-final spot is beat Munster in Limerick at the weekend.

Harlequins: Tries Belligoi 2, O'Leary; Conversions Lacroix 2; Penalties Lacroix 4. Cardiff: Tries Howley, Williams, L Davies, Booth; Conversions Jarvis 3; Penalty Jarvis; Drop goal Jarvis.

Harlequins: J Williams; D O'Leary, W Carling, J Ngauamo (S Power, h-t), L Belligoi; T Lacroix (capt), H Harries; M Cuttitta, T Billups (K Wood 18-26, 50-52, 63), J Leonard, B Davison, G O Llewellyn, R Jenkins, L Cabannes, G Allison.

Cardiff: R Ross; N Walker, L Davies, M Hall (J Hewlett, 70), S Hill (M Silva, 56); L Jarvis, R Howley; A Lewis (P Booth, 60-66, 73), J Humphreys (capt), D Young (L Mustoe, h-t), J Tait, D Jones, S Williams, G Jones, E Lewis (J Ringer, 66).

Referee: E Murray (Scotland).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Executive

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An On-line Sales & Customer Ser...

Recruitment Genius: Accounts Assistant - Fixed Term Contract - 6 Months

£15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the largest hospitality companies...

Recruitment Genius: Electricians - Fixed Wire Testing

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a result of significant cont...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

£16575 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An excellent opportunity is ava...

Day In a Page

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map
Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

Lionel, Patti, Burt and The Who rock Glasto

This was the year of 24-carat Golden Oldies
Paris Fashion Week

Paris Fashion Week

Thom Browne's scarecrows offer a rare beacon in commercial offerings
A year of the caliphate:

Isis, a year of the caliphate

Who can defeat the so-called 'Islamic State' – and how?
Marks and Spencer: Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?

Marks and Spencer

Can a new team of designers put the spark back into the high-street brand?
'We haven't invaded France': Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak

'We haven't invaded France'

Italy's Prime Minister 'reclaims' Europe's highest peak
Isis in Kobani: Why we ignore the worst of the massacres

Why do we ignore the worst of the massacres?

The West’s determination not to offend its Sunni allies helps Isis and puts us all at risk, says Patrick Cockburn
7/7 bombings 10 years on: Four emergency workers who saved lives recall the shocking day that 52 people were killed

Remembering 7/7 ten years on

Four emergency workers recall their memories of that day – and reveal how it's affected them ever since
Humans: Are the scientists developing robots in danger of replicating the hit Channel 4 drama?

They’re here to help

We want robots to do our drudge work, and to look enough like us for comfort. But are the scientists developing artificial intelligence in danger of replicating the TV drama Humans?
Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

Time to lay these myths about the Deep South to rest

'Heritage' is a loaded word in the Dixie, but the Charleston killings show how dangerous it is to cling to a deadly past, says Rupert Cornwell
What exactly does 'one' mean? Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue

What exactly does 'one' mean?

Court of Appeal passes judgement on thorny mathematical issue