Rugby Union: Waterloo accuse Quins of 'sharp practice'

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The Independent Online
Waterloo. . . .14

Harlequins. . .21

HARLEQUINS were accused of 'sharp practice' by Waterloo officials after their quarter-final Pilkington Cup win yesterday.

Derek Murphy, the Waterloo chairman, said the club would consider citing a Harlequins player to the Rugby Football Union for elbowing Steve Swindells in the face. The full-back left the field at half-time and was taken to hospital.

Waterloo also alleged that several Harlequins players were wearing illegal studs. Jason Leonard, Alex Snow and Andy Mullins were all ordered by the referee Stuart Piercy to change their boots.

Waterloo's manager, Jed Poynton, said: 'Steve Peters needed nine stitches after being kicked in the nose and Austin Healey's back has been ripped to pieces by the illegal studs. Their victory is tainted by sharp practice.'

Harlequins rejected all the charges. Their manager, Jamie Salmon, said: 'I have spoken to the players concerned and they wore the boots that the referee checked five minutes before going out.'

He continued: 'Waterloo whinged before the Orrell game and they whinged about us. It's pretty cheap of them. We have never been a dirty side.

'If they want to talk about foul play, what about Richard Langhorn's broken cheekbone that will possibly need an operation and the stitches for Peter Winterbottom and Mullins.'

As for the game itself, Waterloo's ambition of being the first Second Division team to knock out three consecutive First Division opponents flickered for almost the entire first half. Then it was ruthlessly snubbed out.

The turning point came deep into stoppage time in the first half. Both stand-offs showed extreme reluctance to pass the ball throughout but, trailing 8-6, Paul Challinor released his backs and Mike Wedderburnout-ran his marker and then slipped past a less than ruthless tackle to score in the corner.

Challinor converted to push Quins' advantage to 13-8 and when Kent Bray went over to complete the visitors' one other memorable movement of the match there were grounds for believing a rout was in prospect. Waterloo's cup achievements did not deserve that and Tony Handley's penalties, which brought respectability, might even have caused a few Quins hearts to beat faster if he had converted one more to make the score 17-21.

Waterloo: S Swindells (A Handley, 40 min); A Healey, M Craig, N Hill, G Fraser; I Aitchison, C Saverimutto; M Beckett, P Hackett, S Peters, N Wilkinson, N Allott (capt), A Ireland, S Beeley, P Buckton.

Harlequins: K Bray; M Wedderburn, W Carling, G Thompson, E Davis; P Challinor, J Roux; J Leonard, B Moore, A Mullins, A Snow, R Langhorn, M Russell (S Thresher, 44 min), C Sheasby, P Winterbottom (capt).

Referee: S Piercey (Grimsby).

Scores: Saverimutto (try, 14 min, 5-0); Challinor (pen, 20 min, 5-3); Challinor (pen, 26 min, 5-6); Swindells (pen, 36 min, 8-6); Wedderburn / Challinor (try/conv, 40 min, 8-13); Challinor (pen, 48 min, 8-16); Handley (pen, 52 min, 11-16); Bray (try, 60 min, 11-21); Handley (pen, 72 min, 14-21).