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Saturday, 29 September, 2001, 19:54 GMT 20:54 UK
Bridgend's debut ends in defeat
Steve White-Cooper goes on the charge against Bridgend
Steve White-Cooper goes on the charge against Bridgend
Bridgend 24-30 Harlequins

Paul Burke scored 20 points as Harlequins began their Heineken Cup campaign with a hard-fought victory at the Brewery Field.

Last season's European Shield winners proved too strong for Bridgend, in their first match in Europe's premier club competition.

Bridgend shaded the early exchanges, but there was a lot of nervous handling with possession being spilled on numerous occasions.

Eventually, the home side created enough to give fly-half Cerith Rees a chance at goal and he coolly slotted the kick over to open the scoring after 10 minutes.

But Quins struck straight back, following a mistake by Rees.

The youngster couldn't hold onto a pass from Huw Harries and Keith Wood pounced to kick ahead for Paul Burke to dive over. The ex-Ireland outside-half converted his own try to make it 7-3.

Cerith Rees is collared by the Quins defence
Cerith Rees is collared by the Quins defence
Rees, twice, and Burke swapped penalties before a fine break by Bridgend's Adrian Durston was ended by a try-saving tackle from Nick Greenstock.

The importance of his intervention became apparent on the half-hour when Quins stretched their lead.

Scott Bernand made a superb burst from the base of a scrum, and sent Aussie flanker Tu Tamarau over for a simple try, which Burke converted.

Burke added another penalty before the break to give Quins a 20-9 interval lead.

After a stiff half-time talking to from coach Dennis John, Bridgend came out firing and soon got a scoresheet.

A fine box kick from Harries bounced kindly for the on-rushing who strolled over, but Rees missed the conversion.

Richard Bryan attacks the Quins defence
Richard Bryan attacks the Quins defence
And they were inches away from scoring again, when Gareth Thomas kicked through and over the Quins line, but knocked on under pressure from Dan Luger.

But they weathered the storm and Burke, who spent two seasons in Wales with Cardiff, slotted over a calm 45-metre penalty before Rees replied to make it 23-17.

Luger looked dangerous every time he had the ball, and he showed his class by crossing after a fine three-quarters move with 17 minutes left. Burke added the conversion to put Quins in the clear.

Pat Sanderson arrived as a Harlequins replacement and then left the field a minute later after being yellow-carded as referee Joel Dume lost his patience with ruck and maul infringements.

And Bridgend made the most of their numerical advantage with Dafydd James touching down and Rees converting, but the score came too late to make any difference to the result.

Bridgend: Tries: A Durston, D James. Cons: C Rees. Pens: C Rees (4).

Harlequins: Tries: P Burke, T Tamarau, D Luger. Cons: P Burke (3). Pens: P Burke (3).

Bridgend: Adrian Durston; Gareth Jones, Gareth Thomas, John Funnell, Dafydd James; Cerith Rees, Huw Harries (capt); Christian Loader, Gareth Williams, Colin Noon, Paul Clapham, Chris Stephens, Maama Molitika, Jamie Ringer, Richard Bryan.
Reps: Daniel Jones, John Devereux, Jason Hewlett, Aled Griffiths, Chris Ferris, Keith Stewart, Nathan Budgett.

Harlequins: Mark Mapletoft; Matt Moore, Nick Greenstock, Chris Bell, Dan Luger; Paul Burke, Bemand; Bruce Starr, Keith Wood, Adrian Olver, Garrick Morgan (capt), Steve White-Cooper, Roy Winters, Tu Tamarua, Tony Diprose.
Reps: Jonny Roddam, Jason Leonard, Alex Codling, Pat Sanderson, Matthew Powell, Nick Burrows, Ryan O'Neill.

Referee: Joel Dume (France)

See also:

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25 Sep 01 |  Rugby Union
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24 Sep 01 |  Rugby Union
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Links to more Heineken Cup stories are at the foot of the page.


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