Evans vents anger on referee as Quins let chances slip

Harlequins 23 - Castres Olympique 23
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The Independent Online

The Harlequins' head coach Mark Evans huffed and puffed about the referee after his side had drawn with Castres Olympique at the Stoop on Saturday, but the most pertinent post-match comments were by his World Cup-winning centre, Will Greenwood.

"We had enough penalties in the final 10 minutes to win the game and should have nicked it," he said and, considering Castres were a man light in that period and Jeremy Staunton missed two penalties and eschewed two drop-goal opportunities, he was right.

Instead the game finished in stalemate, Quins are still winless this season and Evans vented his fury on an official.

"I thought we were comfortably the stronger team," he said. "He [the referee] didn't penalise collapsing the maul. I felt we should have had a penalty try in the final 10 minutes and when one team is scrummaging the other off the park, you expect some reward."

Possibly he had a case in that Castres, especially their captain Mario Ledesma, ignored the convention of joining rucks and mauls from behind the back feet.

The first try in the sixth minute was started by an enterprising run from Tom Williams, who slipped a weak tackle by Richard Dourthe, fed Simon Keogh who was supported by the superb Andre Vos, and the second was a stolen line-out and skilful pop pass by Greenwood.

It was after the try in the 52nd minute that the Quins should have secured victory. Instead within 90 seconds they conceded a try to Bradley Fleming, Dourthe making the incisive break down the right wing, although he was unable to convert the kick. It proved to be his only miss.

It was the final score of the match, as the last quarter provided absorbing viewing but was riddled with errors and poor decision-making. Although it was Quins best result of a poor season, it effectively finished them in the Heineken Cup, put Castres in strong position to qualify and left Evans fuming with indignation.

Harlequins: Tries James 2; Conversions Staunton 2; Penalties Staunton 3. Castres: Tries Fleming; Penalties Dourthe 6.

Harlequins: T Williams (G Duffy, 66); G Harder, W Greenwood, D James, S Keogh; J Staunton, S So'oialo; M Worsley, T Fuga, C Jones, R Winters, S Miall, N Easter, A Vos (capt) (L Sherriff, 36), T Diprose.

Castres: U Mola; B Fleming, R Dourthe, M Denney, B Lhande (D Bory, h/t); Y Delaigue, A Albouy; J Fitzpatrick (M Reggiardo, 75), M Ledesma (capt) (G Argenese, 75), A Galasso, R Capo Ortega, N Spanghero (D Barrier, 60), R Froment (G Benard, 60), A Bias, P Volley.

Referee: D Changleng (Scotland).