Match Report: Tom Guest and Nick Evans put Harlequins right at home
Biarritz 9 Harlequins 16
Friday 18 January 2013
Harlequins completed a clean sweep in Pool 3 of the Heineken Cup with a hard-earned victory at rain-soaked Biarritz.
The reigning Aviva Premiership champions ended Biarritz's four-year unbeaten home run in the competition to wrap up a dominant display in the pool stages. Tom Guest grabbed the game's only try while the tactical and goal-kicking of Nick Evans, who scored 11 points, proved decisive.
Harlequins are guaranteed a home tie in the quarter-finals and only Toulon and Clermont-Auvergne can now deny them top seeding for the knockout stage. Defeat ended Biarritz's slim hopes of progressing.
The Quins head coach, Connor O'Shea, said: “It was a mature performance and we are delighted with the attitude of the players. There was a lot of experience out there of playing together and in tough conditions but it was one of those nights when you had to roll the sleeves up and show as a group what it means to play for each other. We had to grind it out.”
The visitors were under pressure early on and conceded the opening points of the game but responded to lead 10-3 at half-time in heavy and wet conditions. From a line-out close to the Biarritz line midway through the half Guest came down with the ball and charged over from 10 metres out.
Quins appeared comfortable but indiscipline undermined their efforts, Joe Marler getting sent to the sin bin, and early in the second half Dimitri Yachvili kicked several penalties. Marler then made amends for his earlier dismissal by winning a penalty for his great work at the breakdown and Evans saw his speculative effort from half-way bounce over off the crossbar.
A late Evans penalty then sealed a hard-fought victory.
Biarritz I Balshaw; T Ngwenya, B Baby, D Traille, A Brew; J P Barraque, D Yachvili; F Barcella, A Heguy, B Broster, T Dubarry, P Taele, W Lauret, R Lakafia, I Harinordoquy (capt).
Harlequins M Brown; T Williams, G Lowe, J Turner-Hall, U Monye; N Evans, D Care; J Marler, J Gray, J Johnston, O Kohn, G Robson, M Fa'asavalu, C Robshaw (capt), T Guest.
Referee J Lacey (Ire).
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