Worcester 13 Harlequins 37: Chris Robshaw answers critics in style as Quins run riot

 

Sixways

Dean Ryan, the Worcester director of rugby, has had his share of issues with referees in the short time he has been back in the Premiership coaching game, so when the international official Wayne Barnes picked on his players with a vengeance here last night – there were enough flashes of bright yellow to obviate the need for floodlights – he was some way short of delighted. But it was not Barnes who condemned his team to this thrashing. The culprits were Worcester themselves.

Individually speaking, they had some things going for them outside the scrum: David Lemi’s chasing from the left wing, the occasional heavyweight tackle from Ravai Fatiaki in midfield, and the sheer indefatigability of Paul Hodgson at half-back were all of value. But collectively, they were as soft as putty – particularly around the tackle area, where Chris Robshaw had it all his own way.

Early on, the England captain turned over the home side for fun on the deck, and as the contest unfolded further, he was pretty damned useful on his feet too. With the scores level at 6-6 – heaven knows how, given the Londoners’ supremacy in virtually every area that mattered – he conjured a couple of high-quality off-loads in the middle of the pitch, the second of which sent Danny Care on a 30-metre run to the line, which the scrum-half completed unchallenged.

Worcester were a man short at that stage, Robshaw’s opposite number Jake Abbott having been given a 10-minute break for offending at a  defensive ruck close to his own line and exhausting the patience of Barnes in the process. The flanker was back on the field shortly afterwards, but when the referee reached for his card a second time and flashed it in the direction of Ed Shervington for dragging down a line-out maul, Quins struck again, Joe Marler wrestling his way over from close range.

There was not much glitter about the next two tries either – Rob Buchanan and Mike Brown were the short-range scorers – but Quins, helped by Josh Matavesi’s departure to the bin following a no-arms hit on the ubiquitous Robshaw, were hardly in need of anything special. A high tempo, accurate short passing and a clear sense of direction were all they required to run riot.

Twenty-eight points ahead inside 50 minutes, Quins could be forgiven for dropping off their own standards in the final quarter. They picked up a yellow card of their own – Mark Lambert  – and even conceded a penalty try at a retreating scrum late on.

Yet Robshaw, ultra-reliable as he is, remained at the heart of everything. Some would have us believe that Stuart Lancaster, the England coach, has already decided to transfer the red-rose leadership honours to Tom Wood, of Northampton. On this showing, he might be advised to hold his horses.

Worcester: C Pennell; J Drauninui (J Clarke 45), R Fatiaki, J Matavesi, D Lemi; I Mieres, P Hodgson (J Su’a 69); J Becasseau (P Andrew 51), E Shervington, J Andress (E Murray 45), M Williams, D Schofield (C Jones 49), S Betty (N Seymour 38-45), J Abbott (S Taulava 45), J Thomas (capt).

Harlequins: M Brown; T Williams, G Lowe, T Casson (B Botica 48), U Monye; N Evans (S Smith 73), D Care (K Dickson 52); J Marler (M Lambert 45), R Buchanan (D Ward 61), W Collier (K Sinckler 63), N Easter, G Robson (G Merrick 48), M Fa’asavalu, C Robshaw (capt), T Guest (L Wallace 63).

Referee: W Barnes (London).

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)
tvOur review of the Doctor Who Christmas Special
News
peopleIt seems you can't silence Katie Hopkins, even on Christmas Day...
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: Stanley Tucci, Sophie Grabol and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvSo Sky Atlantic arrived in Iceland to film their new and supposedly snow-bound series 'Fortitude'...
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman as Clara Oswald in the Doctor Who Christmas special
tvForget the rumours that Clara Oswald would be quitting the Tardis
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Sir Bruce Forsyth with Tess Daly in the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special
tvLouis Smith wins with 'Jingle Bells' quickstep on Strictly Come Dancing's Christmas Special
Arts and Entertainment
Japanese artist Megumi Igarashi showing a small mascot shaped like a vagina
art
News
The Queen delivers her Christmas message
newsTwitter reacts to Her Majesty's Christmas Message
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Life and Style
fashion
Sport
sport
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

Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there