Rugby Union: Moore the merrier

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Leicester. . . .3

Harlequins. . .10

OLD MOORE would have consulted the almanac and decided that it was time to put himself about a bit. The more so since England named three hookers in their squad for the Test with New Zealand on Saturday week.

So Brian Moore had something to prove in the league at Welford Road yesterday. He may have played in 45 internationals, but the Harlequin, along with Graham Dawe and John Olver, has been told to sharpen up by England's manager, Geoff Cooke.

At 31, Moore is not exactly a spring chicken. Richard Cockerell, on the other hand, is - a 22-year-old whose record to date includes eight appearances among the England A-team replacements and whose time will surely come.

Cockerell had no trouble locating Martin Johnson initially in the line-out on a dismal afternoon, Jez Harris keeping the pressure on for Leicester with a towering up and under.

This led to a penalty chance, but John Liley pushed the ball wide, though there was something for Tigers' supporters to cheer about when Dean Richards buried Kent Bray in an advertising hoarding. The full-back recovered sufficiently, however, to make a brave mark under another testing high ball.

With Leicester doing the pressing, there was another opportunity for Liley, again pushed wide, but he eventually succeeded with a most difficult kick from 40 yards, adjacent to the right touchline, as the half-hour approached. Quins, who had won four out of six previous Courage meetings with the Tigers, were immediately under the cosh again.

They had a stroke of good fortune after 33 minutes, though, when Harris's pass went to ground. Daren O'Leary was on to it in a flash and hacked on over 70 yards for a stunning try against flat-footed opponents. With Liley missing penalty attempts either side of this break-out, Quins led 5-3 at the interval.

Better still, when Paul Challinor hoisted the ball on the resumption and Liley missed it completely, Will Carling made the pick-up and touched down. This was enough to give Quins their fourth league win of the season, condemn Leicester to a second defeat and keep Old Moore happy - after the hooker had been heavily involved in a remarkable defensive effort in the closing minutes.

Leicester: J Liley; S Hackney, S Potter, R Underwood, T Underwood; J Harris, B Gabriel; G Rowntree, R Cockerell, D Garforth, M Johnson, M Poole, J Wells, D Richards (capt), N Back.

Harlequins: K Bray; D O'Leary, G Thompson, W Carling, J Alexander; P Challinor, R Glenister; J Leonard, B Moore, A Mullins (capt), A Snow, D Dix, M Russell, R Langhorn, C Sheasby.

Referee: B Campsall (Halifax).

Scores: Liley (pen, 29 min, 3-0); O'Leary (try, 33 min, 3-5); Carling (try, 41 min, 3-10).