Woody conquers Stoop

Harlequins 9 Leeds 16
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The Independent Online

Clive Woodward may have been at The Stoop to watch his next generation of players and potential champions but it was he and his band of World Cup winners who got the biggest cheer of the day.

Jason Leonard, Mark Regan and Will Greenwood received a rapturous standing ovation when they walked out to the centre of the pitch at half-time and just as it started to subside, Woodward emerged from the far side of the ground and joined them.

Unsurprisingly the cheers were redoubled for the architect of English rugby's finest moment and after he had neatly avoided a microphone thrust under his nose, he regained the safety of his hospitality box to watch the rest of the match.

Little he saw on the pitch would have pleased him though, as handling errors and dropped balls were even more in evidence than last Saturday in Sydney, in similarly wet and windy conditions.

The best break of the game was from Tykes' diminutive fly-half, Gordon Ross, in the 57th minute when he sliced through the sluggish cover defence and scored. It gave the Tykes a lead they were never to relinquish and precipitated the arrival of Leonard and then Regan on to the pitch proper, again to great cheers.

Neither had great effect though as Ross and Andy Dunne traded another penalty each and the Tykes defence resisted stoutly at the end.

The crowd, just over 7,000 strong, left disappointed at their team's loss but more surprising was that it was not a full house. The surge through the turnstiles predicted all week never actually materialised. Circa 7,000 is a usual number for a Quins home fixture as are the hordes of children that play mini-rugby before the game on the pitch and at the nearby college pitches.

The only difference yesterday was the crowd gathered around a hospitality box at the end of the match singing "Swing Low".

Harlequins: G Duffy (J Taumalolo, 70); S Keogh, C Bell, M Deane, U Monye; A Dunne, B Willis; M Worsley (C Jones, 42), A Tiatia, J Dawson (J Leonard, 58), B Davison (K Rudzki, 58), J Evans, P Sanderson, T Diprose, A Vos (capt).

Leeds: D Scarbrough; D Rees, A Snyman, T Davies, D Albanese; G Ross, C Stuart-Smith; M Shelley (capt), M Holt (M Regan, 62), G Powell, S Morgan (M Stockdale, 67), P Murphy (S Hooper, 62), A Persico, A Popham, J Ponton.

Referee: S Davey (Horsham).

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