Round-Up: Robshaw relief after Goode misses with last kick
James Mariner is a journalist who has been boring The Independent sports desk with mindless statistics since June 2007. Helping with various, wide-ranging desk duties (I made the tea once), supervising workies and the endless researching of panels, James has an unnatural love of all things football, and in particular the Europa League, being a Tottenham Hotspur supporter. He cites Brian Sears and Ledley King among his heroes and can even find something interesting in Burnley v Hull City. On a good day.
Monday 09 September 2013
Chris Robshaw admitted his relief at Harlequins’ narrow opening day victory over Wasps after seeing Andy Goode miss a penalty with the final kick at Twickenham on Saturday.
The Quins captain feared the worst when Goode stepped up to take the final kick of the match and win the points for Wasps, but the fly-half’s conversion attempt came back off the post to leave Conor O’Shea’s men celebrating a hard fought opening Premiership victory.
“I thought Goodey would get it,” the England captain said. “He is a cool lad and a very good penalty taker. So we were worried he might do it for them. Thankfully, he missed.
“It was a cliffhanger again but we won. That’s the important thing. It’s never going to be pretty. Wasps are a good side and a dangerous one but we managed to get over the line.”
Quins breathed a huge sigh of relief having seen Wasps’ England lock Tom Palmer force his way over from close range for a try which moved his side to within a point of their opponents.
“Andy will win us more games than he loses,” the Wasps director of rugby, Dai Young, said. “It is the curse of the kicker. You are either hero or zero.
“We could have given him a better angle but the result is no reflection on Andy. It could have gone either way. We had white line fever on a couple of occasions but held our own in every department.”
Wasps led 10-3 midway through the first half after Goode’s penalty added to Joe Launchbury’s early try, before two Nick Evans penalties and a Karl Dickson score put Harlequins in control. Cue Tom Palmer’s late try and Goode’s failure to win it for Wasps.
Saracens director of rugby Mark McCall highlighted the power of Mako and Billy Vunipola as the 2011 champions opened with a resounding 42-20 victory at Twickenham.
“You can see their quality on the ball and in that second half things opened up a little bit,” McCall said. “You give Billy and Mako time on the ball and things happen around them. Mako is a decision maker on the ball – when to offload and when not to, he never makes errors.”
The England forwards were playing together for Saracens for the first time after Billy, making his debut for the club, left Wasps during the summer to join elder brother Mako at Allianz Park.
“Billy was great out there, part of a good back row,” McCall continued. “He can do very well for us and will play No 8 regularly, but he can play a few positions.”
Elsewhere, Mark Cueto and Andy Forsyth went over to give Sale the points at Gloucester, 22-16. “Gloucester came out with a real passionate second half and took the game to us,” Steve Diamond, the Sale director of rugby, said. “We held on in the second half but that is the character we showed in the latter half of last year.”
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