Quins on the rise as Robshaw double keeps Leeds at bay

Leeds Carnegie 27 Harlequins 30
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The Independent Online

Harlequins head coach John Kingston paid tribute to his players after they withstood a stirring second-half fightback from bottom club Leeds to continue their upward mobility in the Guinness Premiership.

Flanker Chris Robshaw, who made his England debut against Argentina in June, showed brute power to twice burrow his way over the line and help the visitors into a 24-13 interval lead.

Yet Leeds hit back with two tries in seven second-half minutes through Kearnan Myall and Tom Denton to ensure that the visitors had an anxious last 15 minutes.

Leeds pushed hard for a try that could have secured only their second win of the season but Quins held on.

Kingston – who reserved special praise for Robshaw – said: ''I knew in my mind that we had to play well to get that victory. There were times when we played really well and threatened to get away from them.

''With 20 minutes to go it turned into an arm wrestle but I actually thought we handled that pretty well.''

Robshaw seized centre stage in the first half with his two close-range scores to sandwich a try from George Lowe.

Yet Quins' England scrum-half Danny Care was also sent to the sin-bin during an eventful opening period of a match that Ugo Monye and Mike Brown missed through illness and a back injury respectively.

Kingston added: ''Robshaw has been outstanding in the last few months and must be in the frame for England.''

For Harlequins, life is beginning to look a lot better after the 'Bloodgate' scandal. After a woeful start to the season, the London club have lost only one of their last six Premiership outings to encourage hopes that they might challenge at the top end of the table again.

But Leeds, since their momentous win at Wasps, have now lost three Premiership matches in succession and a losing bonus point was little consolation.

Leeds head coach Neil Back, whose side led through Richard Welding's early try before Myall and Denton touched down in the second period to fuel the home fightback, could not hide his frustration. Back said: ''Our first-half performance, conceding three soft tries, killed us basically.

Leeds Carnegie: Hinton; Welding, Rabeni, Barrow (Hepworth, 29), Blackett; Ford, Gomarsall (Mathie, 54); Hardy (MacDonald, 51), Ma'asi (Nilsen, 51), Gomez (McGee, 66), Lund, Wentzel, Myall, Clark, Oakley (Denton, 51).

Harlequins: T Williams; Strettle, Lowe, Tiesi, Mordt; N Evans, Care; Jones, Fuga (Brooker, 66), Andress (Lambert, 58), Percival (Stevenson, 66), Robson, Guest (Skinner, 58), Robshaw, Easter.

Referee: S Davey (RFU).

***

*Bristol have signed the banned Bath player Alex Crockett for the final months of their Championship season. Former England Saxons centre Crockett is currently serving a nine-month suspension as one of three players who refused to take two tests after Bath investigated allegations of drug use at an end-of-season party.

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