Staunton kicks Tigers past Harlequins

Harlequins 9 Leicester 15

Jeremy Staunton is not a contender for the Harlequins hall of fame. When he was the No 10 for the club in a desperately tight season a few years ago, the Irishman was presented with a penalty in the last minute against Sale and it sailed inches wide. Quins were relegated and they subsequently introduced a new coach, Dean Richards, under whom they spent a season in National League One before returning to the Guinness Premiership.

Yesterday Staunton, who is by no means guaranteed a first-team place with the Tigers when their squad is at full strength, turned out to be Leicester's match-winner. In a game not so much of two halves as outside-halves, the Irishman kicked five penalties to Nick Evans's three. It was suffocating stuff and Staunton's reward was to be booed by the crowd. In the end, he silenced them.

It wasn't that there was a lack of outstanding individual talent on show – it was just that with two huge defences, there was less room to move than on the M25. Quins are determined to play an entertaining form of rugby but Leicester, particularly when they are on the road, know how to shut a game down. They were delighted to return to the Midlands with a victory that their coach, Richard Cockerill, said could be invaluable come the end of the season.

Nobody but nobody was talking about the summer's Bloodgate affair. In fact, the temperature was such that, with water carriers making frequent excursions on to the pitch, it felt more like Watergate.

Staunton is no Barry John but he kept his nerve to land the goals that mattered. Nobody really came within a sniff of the tryline, although the match, as stultifying as it was in general, was not without its moments.

In David Strettle and Ugo Monye, Quins have two of the most gifted runners in the game. Not that they saw much of the ball. When they did, something usually happened. With his first touch Strettle, with the outside of his boot, found a brilliant touch but the wing surpassed that a few minutes later when he deflected a poor pass with his foot, flicked the ball up, caught it and delivered an inside pass. Unfortunately, Will Skinner could not hold on to it.

That could have been an expensive error by the Quins captain, who in every other regard had an excellent match against his old club, but an even more glaring chance was missed early in the second half when the home side were finding themselves more and more hemmed in. After Staunton had kicked his second penalty to give Leicester a 6-3 lead, shortly after the restart, Quins launched what threatened to be a devastating counter- attack. The left wing, George Lowe – formerly of Esher – set off on a wonderful run and a cross-field move died 70 metres later when Jordan Crane killed the ball (90 per cent of possession was half-strangled). The No 8 received a yellow card. Compared to conceding a try, it was a light punishment.

Quins were not quite finished. Monye, who was playing at full-back, rather than in his customary position on the wing, shredded the Leicester defence with an electrifying burst but with the line beckoning, his inside pass to Lowe was juggled – and put to ground.

Evans had given Quins the lead with a good strike in the 10th minute, Staunton responding 10 minutes later, and both kickers had their lapses. After Evans kicked a couple of penalties in the final quarter to give his side a 9-6 lead, Leicester did what they invariably do in such situations. They drove down field and established a base camp and up stepped Staunton to land three successive penalties.

"Our job is not to entertain," said Cockerill. "It's to get points."

Harlequins: U Monye; D Strettle, T Masson, J Turner-Hall, G Lowe; N Evans, D Care (S So'oialo, 72); C Jones, G Botha (T Fuga, 53), M Lambert (J Andress, 53), L Stevenson (T Guest, 72), J Evans, C Robshaw, N Easter, W Skinner (capt).

Leicester: G Murphy (A Mauger, 42); S Hamilton, M Smith, A Allen, J Murphy; J Staunton, H Ellis; M Ayerza, G Chuter (M Davies, 42), M Castrogiovanni (J White, 17), R Blaze, L Deacon, T Croft, J Crane (B Deacon, 74), B Woods.

Referee: D Pearson (Northumberland).

Arts and Entertainment
books
Voices
Caustic she may be, but Joan Rivers is a feminist hero, whether she likes it or not
voicesShe's an inspiration, whether she likes it or not, says Ellen E Jones
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and the Dalek meet
tvReview: Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Sport
Diego Costa
footballEverton 3 Chelsea 6: Diego Costa double has manager purring
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
3D printed bump keys can access almost any lock
techSoftware needs photo of lock and not much more
Arts and Entertainment
The 'three chords and the truth gal' performing at the Cornbury Music Festival, Oxford, earlier this summer
music... so how did she become country music's hottest new star?
Life and Style
The spy mistress-general: A lecturer in nutritional therapy in her modern life, Heather Rosa favours a Byzantine look topped off with a squid and a schooner
fashionEurope's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln
News
Dr Alice Roberts in front of a
peopleAlice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Star turns: Montacute House
tv
News
i100Steve Carell selling chicken, Tina Fey selling saving accounts and Steve Colbert selling, um...
Arts and Entertainment
Unsettling perspective: Iraq gave Turner a subject and a voice (stock photo)
booksBrian Turner's new book goes back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
News
The Digicub app, for young fans
advertisingNSPCC 'extremely concerned'
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Some of the key words and phrases to remember
booksA user's guide to weasel words
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model of a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor
She's dark, sarcastic, and bashes life in Nowheresville ... so how did Kacey Musgraves become country music's hottest new star?

Kacey Musgraves: Nashville's hottest new star

The singer has two Grammys for her first album under her belt and her celebrity fans include Willie Nelson, Ryan Adams and Katy Perry
American soldier-poet Brian Turner reveals the enduring turmoil that inspired his memoir

Soldier-poet Brian Turner on his new memoir

James Kidd meets the prize-winning writer, whose new memoir takes him back to the bloody battles he fought in Iraq
Aston Villa vs Hull match preview: Villa were not surprised that Ron Vlaar was a World Cup star

Villa were not surprised that Vlaar was a World Cup star

Andi Weimann reveals just how good his Dutch teammate really is
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef ekes out his holiday in Italy with divine, simple salads

Bill Granger's simple Italian salads

Our chef presents his own version of Italian dishes, taking in the flavours and produce that inspired him while he was in the country
The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

The Last Word: Tumbleweed through deserted stands and suites at Wembley

If supporters begin to close bank accounts, switch broadband suppliers or shun satellite sales, their voices will be heard. It’s time for revolution