Fuga keeps Quins in right groove

Harlequins 31 - Leeds 17
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The Independent Online

They're on another run. After eight consecutive Zurich Premiership defeats, Harlequins have strung three wins together in the same competition. The only fault you could find with this latest triumph was the absence of a try-scoring bonus point.

They're on another run. After eight consecutive Zurich Premiership defeats, Harlequins have strung three wins together in the same competition. The only fault you could find with this latest triumph was the absence of a try-scoring bonus point.

But they got close to one, touching down three times, their second highest try tally in the league thus far. And at least they outdid Leeds on that front, the visitors managing just two.

Quins were not quite as mighty as their adopted club song's hero, but the 6,447 crowd were treated to some high-class Sunday driving by a superbly organised pack.

Andre Vos, Tony Diprose and Nick Easter were an arrowhead of efficiency that devoured any spilled ball and made yards up the middle. Backs and forwards tackled like demons and as bravely as Leeds fought they could not match the home team.

The hooker Tani Fuga opened Harlequins' account when he was sent clear thanks to a brilliant reverse pass by George Harder in the 18th minute.

Early on Leeds had demonstrated their excellent handling skills with some pack-to-backs passing that was sweet to behold, but there was nothing much to show for it at the end of each passage of play, just the first of their two tries.

The Leeds prop Mike Shelley's perfect miss-pass which cut out Tim Stimpson and found former Quin Chris Bell, who in turn fed wing David Rees, helped earn the visitors the lead, but only for the 12 minutes or so until Jeremy Staunton's second penalty restored order.

The Quins' scrum-half Steve So'oialo's decision to run a 61st-minute penalty proved decisive as his forwards drove him over. With Easter adding another it was virtually all over. The only thing missing was that elusive fourth try.

Harlequins: Tries Fuga, So'oialo, Easter; Conversions Staunton, Dunne; Penalties Staunton 4.

Leeds: Tries Rees, Bell; Conversions Stimpson 2; Penalty Stimpson.

Harlequins: T Williams (G Duffy, 77); G Harder (U Monye, 65), D James, M Deane, S Keogh; J Staunton, S So'oialo; M Worsley ( Dawson, 75), T Fuga (J Hayter, 75), C Jones, R Winters, S Miall (S Maling, 65), N Easter, A Diprose (L Sherriff, 75), A Vos (capt).

Leeds: T Stimpson; I Balshaw (T Biggs, 75), C Bell, A Snyman, D Rees; G Wright (P Christophers, 62), A Dickens; M Shelley, M Regan (R Rawlinson, 70), R Gerber, S Morgan, T Palmer (capt), P Uys, C Rigney (C Murphy 45-49), D Hyde (J Dunbar, h-t-56; C Murphy 56).

Referee: R Maybank (Orpington)

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