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Author Topic: Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18  (Read 190 times)

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Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18
« on: Saturday 27-Oct-2018, 23:51 »
Grenoble v Quins
by Bedfordshire Boy

Glad to see that having left home in foggy conditions on Friday morning, it was at least sunny and bright at Luton Airport. So far so good until on the way from the car park to the terminals on the bus I realised that I had left my phone in the car, can anybody survive for three days without a mobile phone in their pockets these days? For once in my life I had arrived at the airport with plenty of time so a quick turn around on the car park bus put things to right. Even had time to ring the club to organise my Big Game 11 tickets but no luck with that one as the ticket office seemed to be inundated with members trying to do the same thing. Good flight out to Geneva and plenty of time to catch the train to Grenoble followed by a walk of about 100 metres to get to the hotel.

Match day was bright and sunny although you would never know that the city was surrounded by mountains due the very hazy conditions although it did clear later in the day. Having never visited Grenoble before our first port of call in the morning was to La Bastille, an ancient fortified castle overlooking the metropolis accessed either by an extremely long and challenging walk or a more sedate cable car ride. Having opted for the latter, we arrived at the top to find that people wearing various versions of the multi coloured shirt, far out numbered the other visitors with even a group of the playing squad relaxing in the restaurant. Pity that the murky conditions didn`t improve sufficiently to allow for any decent photographs looking down into the city.

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The Grenoble “Bubbles”

Funny old time to start a rugby game, nine o`clock in the evening, presumably selected to suit French TV, not sure that BT are showing any Challenge Cup matches are they? My guess is that there were about 200 Quins supporters in the stadium out of a total of no more than about 7000. Pitch was in great shape and we were allocated great seating but the rest of the stadium was a typical French soul less concrete structure. Looking at the team sheet we had every right to feel optimistic, particularly happy to see Francis Saili making a start and to see Jack Clifford and Demitri Catrakilis on the bench.

To the game; Grenoble kicked off and it took less than two minutes for Quins to be penalised for holding on about 25 metres out right in front of the posts. Unsurprisingly Grenoble number ten Glenat had no trouble with the kick to open the scoring for the home side. A few minutes later the Quins pack win a penalty from the first scrum of the match, Marcus Smith kicks to touch and, surprise surprise, Quins lose the line out. As Grenoble set up an attack in midfield, they recycle the ball and, from an obvious preset move, the scrum half passes to a winger running a great line who unfortunately had run past him at the time of the pass. Luckily for Quins, the pass went straight to Marcus Smith who was left with a clear run to score under the posts. Smith converted his own try, Grenoble 3 Quins 7 after 6 minutes, lots of very happy bunnies in the Quins section of the crowd.

Quins are penalised again after 10 minutes for a high tackle by Bothma (probably lucky not to be shown a card) so another straightforward kick for Glenat to bring their tally to six points. Both teams are running the ball at every opportunity and although the defences are generally in the ascendancy, it is usually bad technique that leads to attacks breaking down. Grenoble went in to the lead for the second time with 30 minutes on the clock, this time Quins are penalised for playing the ball on the ground giving Glenat another fairly standard kick but this time from about forty metres. 

Joe Marler is penalised from the kick off allowing Grenoble to clear the ball to touch on the half way line. Referee had a long chat with James Chisholm at this point, not sure if something was said or if it was simply that the penalty count was mounting, but Chisholm called the team together to pass on the message. More loose play from both sides followed with neither side seemingly able to keep hold of the ball for more than 3 or 4 phases. On 40 minutes, the Quins scrum is once again penalised, much to the disgust of Max Crumpton, but this time the conversion attempt from the Grenoble fly half drifted wide. Half time score Grenoble 9 Quins 7.

Still feeling optimistic as Smith gets the second half underway with Jack Clifford and Elia Elia having replaced Bothma and Crumpton respectively. This time it is Grenoble who are penalised within the first minute of the half and Smith adds to the Quins total with a well taken penalty conversion from about 35 metres range. The standard of play has not improved from the first half and neither side seem able to hold on to the ball and the pitching cutting up is making the scrums a bit of a lottery. Eight minutes into the half Quins are awarded another penalty for Grenoble playing the ball on the ground after another untidy phase of play. Smith is again on target from about 30 metres range, Grenoble 9 Quins 13 after 48 minute.

From the Grenoble restart, Smith launches the ball deep into the Grenoble twenty two and the ball is eventually scrambled into touch following a great chase and charge down by Earle. Grenoble started making changes with the two props being replaced which seemed to strengthen their scrum although the pitch surface continued to cause problems.

Poor play continued but we were all cheered up following a terrific 40 metre break from Jack Clifford who was finally brought down a few metres short of the Grenoble line. Unfortunately there was no immediate Quins support so Grenoble were able to clear the danger. More changes for Quins as Collier and Alofa replace Sinckler and Walker respectively on 57 minutes and Lewis and Catrakilis replacing Mulchrone and Smith five minutes later. More great play from Clifford shortly afterwards as he wins turnover ball when Grenoble are penalised for holding on, not a decision that met with the approval of the home supporters.

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Another Quins attack that just petered out

Two quick scores for Grenoble turned out to be the turning point of the match; an intercept converted try from winger Visinia on 64 minutes followed four minutes later by a converted penalty when Quins were penalised for pulling down a maul, Grenoble 19 Quins 13. Marler and Kunatani were replaced by Boyce and South before the restart with Grenoble now being urged on by a much more vocal crowd. Unfortunately the Quins side seemed to lack any composure in the last 10 minutes of the match with passes being thrown everywhere except to a Quins player and the game petered out with no change to the scoreline.

Well that was a game that was there for the taking with both sides being strong in defence and very sloppy in attack so it is not surprising that the only trys in the game came from interceptions. What is really frustrating is that with a little composure there were ample opportunities in the last ten minutes of the game to pick up the few extra points for a win. All is not lost though as Quins still head their Challenge Cup group, but leading Benneton on points difference only makes the back to back games against them in December more important.

Some positives from the game; Francis Saili got through the whole match in one piece and is starting to show why he was signed in the first place, Jack Clifford was impressive as was Nathan Earle, the defence was solid and the forwards generally got over the gain line in attack and Marcus Smith had a good all round game. On the downside there was far too much sloppy play with attacks breaking down with a bad pass or spilled ball and Quins continue to struggle in open play attack against a well organised defence. Yet again it was penalties that ultimately led to defeat.


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deadlyfrom5yardsout

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Re: Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18
« Reply #1 on: Sunday 28-Oct-2018, 08:27 »
Thanks I almost felt I was there!

InsertQuinsPunHere

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Re: Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18
« Reply #2 on: Sunday 28-Oct-2018, 21:05 »
Thank you for the write up. Sounds like you had a nice trip despite the result!

SiB

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Re: Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18
« Reply #3 on: Tuesday 30-Oct-2018, 07:04 »
Good write up thanks
Have to say enjoyed Grenoble great place for a rugby trip. The cable car etc all great
Yet again a great weekend away spoiled by 80 minutes of rugby

Nico Wilson

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Re: Match Report: Grenoble vs Harlequins 20 Oct 18
« Reply #4 on: Tuesday 06-Nov-2018, 17:33 »
Thanks for the write up.

 

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