Rugby Union: Rees to the rescue as Quins fight back

Cardiff 32 Harlequins 32
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The Independent Online
GARETH REES rocked Cardiff with two dropped goals to give the Harlequins a last-gasp draw in their Heineken Cup Pool 5 opener at Arms Park last night.

The eager Welsh side had made the early running but could not break through with a try, and it was the metronomic boot of Neil Jenkins that lifted them into a nine-point lead as he kicked three successive penalties. Jenkins then converted a try by Simon Hill off the touchline after a weak kick out of defence by the Quins full-back Gareth Rees had let him in at the corner.

Quins fought back and by half- time had conjured up two tries through Pat Sanderson and his back-row colleague Zinzan Brooke. Rees converted both. On the stroke of half-time Jenkins added a fourth penalty, but Rees responded from a metre inside his own half shortly after the restart. Rees then put the Quins ahead for the first time with a second penalty.

Jenkins was quick to respond with a 30-metre drop goal and the Cardiff pack then took it on themselves to extend the lead. Having shunted the Quins front row all over the park throughout the evening they called the scrum when given a penalty five metres out. After two collapses by the desperate Quins front row the referee awarded a penalty try that Jenkins duly converted.

Cardiff: Tries: S Hill, penalty try; Conversions: N Jenkins 2; Penalties: N Jenkins 5; Drop goal: N Jenkins.

Harlequins: Tries: P Sanderson, Z Brook; Conversions: G Rees 2; Penalties: G Rees 4. Drop goals Rees 2

Cardiff: M Rayer (capt); L Botham, L Davies, G Thomas, S Hill; N Jenkins, R Howley; A Lewis, J Humphreys, S John, C Quinnell (S Williams, 76), M Voyle, G Kacala, M Williams, E Lewis (O Williams, 55). Replacements: R Powell, P Burke, J Robinson, L Mustoe, D Geraghty.

Harlequins: G Rees; J Keyter, N Greenstock (D Officer 27), W Carling, D O'Leary; R Liley (C Wright, 17), P Richards; J Leonard, C Ridway, D Barnes (K Nepia, 61), G Morgan, G Llewellyn, Z Brooke (R Jenkins 58), P Sanderson (S White-Cooper, 75), C Sheasby. Replacements: H Harries, T Murphy.

Referee: D Mene (France).

Grenoble could be in trouble with the authorities following their bad- tempered reaction to a 23-18 defeat by Edinburgh Reivers in the Pool 6 game at Netherdale. At the final whistle there was an ugly brawl, with the visitors captain, Willy Taofifenua, appearing to strike Reivers' flanker Graham Dall. The home win came courtesy of six penalties from fly-half Duncan Hodge and a second-half try from Conan Sharman.

Mark McHugh kicked all of Leinster's points - seven penalties and two dropped goals - in their 27-20 victory over Leicester in the Pool 1 game in Dublin. Pat Howard scored a try for the visitors and Tim Stimpson kicked five penalties.

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