HARLEQUINS STILL STRUGGLING
Harlequins were unconvincing in their return to winning ways after last week’s defeat to Saracens.
At a number of times in their clash with Exeter they looked likely to record back to back defeats before coming through 11-9.
Quins lost for the first time in the league last weekend and the pressure was on for them to bounce back in style against Exeter. It was an unconvincing performance from the league leaders, in particular from Rory Clegg.
Having previously missed five of his six attempts in the game, the fly half stepped up with four minutes remaining on the clock to successfully kick the Quins to a narrow victory, they would have been expected to win a lot more comfortably.
Following their back to back games against Toulouse, the Quins have suffered from something of a European hangover with poor displays against both Saracens and Exeter and the pressure will be on for an instant bounce back with not only victory against Northampton this weekend, but also a good performance. With the Six Nations 2012 betting picking up momentum now, Harlequins need to make sure they have enough points on the board to cope without their internationals when the tournament starts.
Despite Clegg’s disappointing display with the boot he was impressive in the rest of his game, defending well and providing a strong platform for his backs to build on. But the Quins have been used to a far more dominant and consistent display at fly half from Kiwi, Nick Evans.
Since arriving in the Premiership two years ago Exeter have consistently surprised people with their strong performances and this was also the case against the league leaders. They dominated up front and defended bravely throughout the game.
In fact it is fair to say they deserved more from the game than the losing bonus point they ended up with. Whilst they were reliant on missed kicks from Clegg, Exeter came closer to defeating Quins than any side had done prior to Sarries victory last weekend.
It will be interesting to see how Harlequins respond to this seeming dip in form, the next few games will no doubt tell us a lot about their title credentials, and whether they are contenders for the Betfair Heineken cup Rugby betting.