Salford 16 – 24 Harlequins

And in one game this weekend I’ve already managed to equal the number of correct predictions I made last weeek.

Overall, I found this game to be a fairly turgid game (especially in the first half which turned into an arm-wrestle pretty early on) and although it opened up a little in the second half, this was mainly due to Salford needing to chase the game. In my mind this game came down to four key things:

  • Firstly, Tony Clubb’s try to give Quins a lead going into half-time. It was one of those classic examples of a score that was both a great individual try and a terrible defensive effort. 
  • Secondly, Salford’s inability to score in the opening 10-15 minutes of the second half was costly. Whilst the commentators were going on about how much it must have taken out of Quins, I was thinking they would be thinking that they’ve got Salford’s number defensively. I was proved right.
  • Thirdly, Robbie Paul just failed to score what would have been the try of the season (how many last-second offloads were there in that move?). If he had snuck in at the corner, Salford would have had the momentum going into the final quarter.
  • Fourthly, Luke Dorn’s try came on the back of a blatant knock-on at the play-the-ball from Danny Ward. By not spotting it, the referee allowed Quins to build up an unassailable lead and forced Salford to push the tempo beyond their breaking point.

In the end Quins were good value for their win, and Salford’s lack of clinical finishing proved costly. Salford aren’t getting ripped apart like they were earlier in the season, but they are now dropping close games with alarming frequency. Quins once again showed that they are a side who means business, and they’re sneaking up the table again. They now have to show they can do that when it becomes expected of them.

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