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Quins-watch (18): once more unto the breach …

It remains mathematically possible that the Harlequins could still make the last-four Premiership playoffs: with four matches to go, the ‘top six’ points scores are Saracens 72, Northampton Saints 65, Leicester Tigers 58, Bath Rugby 55, Sale Sharks 51 and Quins 49. However, with four points [...]

March 30, 2014 // 0 Comments

Quins-watch (17): the fat lady is clearing her throat …

Every true club fan, whether they support an elite team or their local village side, has a relationship with dejection. In his feature film Clockwise, John Cleese – playing a stressed school headmaster – summed it up neatly with the line “It’s not the despair, I can take the [...]

March 23, 2014 // 0 Comments

One for the men in green

There are plenty of things imperfect about rugby union’s Six Nations tournament – not least the fact that it is a hugely commercial sports product of a cosy, self-serving cabal of ‘old world’ countries specifically designed to preserve the existing Northern Hemisphere order – but each [...]

March 16, 2014 // 0 Comments

Wales humbled at HQ

That’s the odd, and compelling, thing about sporting contests. They very rarely pan out as you think. Or, to put it another way, sometimes the result does – but not in the way that you had anticipated. In advance of yesterday’s England v Wales rugby match at Twickenham, I was forced to give a [...]

March 10, 2014 // 0 Comments

Quins-watch (16) – just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse

It may seem somewhat counter-intuitive, but there is a distinct reason why I wish to begin my piece upon yesterday’s Premiership clash between Harlequins and bottom-of-the-table Worcester Warriors with a representative example of a professional journalist’s report of the game from the website [...]

March 2, 2014 // 0 Comments

Respecting the referee

After a weekend in the county, yesterday I finally got around to reading my copy of the latest The Rugby Paper, rugby union’s weekly newspaper. One of its articles was a full-page diatribe by a regular contributor against the increasing preponderance of on-field chat/advice to the referee [...]

February 26, 2014 // 0 Comments

Quins-watch (15) – The glass is half-full, of course

The business end of the rugby season is now upon us and, right on cue, the Harlequins have just slipped from fourth position in the Premiership to fifth, defeated away at Gloucester last weekend. A fair assumption being that Northampton Saints and ‘Saffra-cens’  – a common reference to [...]

February 25, 2014 // 0 Comments

An epic encounter at Billy Williams’ cabbage patch

Any slight frustration I felt at about 6.00pm last night, my long record of hopeless sporting predictions still intact after England’s 13-10 victory over Ireland at Twickenham, was surpassed by sheer delight and wonder at the pulsating game of rugby that I had just witnessed on television. Those [...]

February 23, 2014 // 0 Comments

So little to choose between them …

Having retired to bed last night at half-time during the Wales v France Six Nations contest with a home victory plainly in sight, I awoke a few minutes ago with a growing sense of anticipatory tension and excitement over the England v Ireland clash at Twickenham this afternoon. Can Stuart [...]

February 22, 2014 // 0 Comments

Quins-watch (14): one to forget

Yesterday I went to the Stoop to watch the Harlequins keep their quest for a Premiership top-four finish on track with a nervy 18-14 defeat of Dean Richards’ Newcastle Falcons. To be honest, it was not a great game. I’m not suggesting Quins have lost their mojo, but they just aren’t playing [...]

February 16, 2014 // 0 Comments

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