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Catalan Dragons 4-11 Harlequins RL

Catalan (0) 4
Tries: Blanch
Harlequins (10) 11
Tries: Gale 2 Drop goals: Gale Goals: Gale

Luke Gale scoring his second try
Luke Gale scored two tries in the first six minutes to give Catalans a setback they could not recover from

By Ged Scott
BBC Sport at the Millennium Stadium

Harlequins stand-off Luke Gale scored all his side's points at the Millennium Stadium to get new coach Rob Powell off to a winning start.

Gale ran in two tries inside the first six minutes to stun new-look Catalan.

Gale missed the kick for the first try, making amends when he launched a high bomb which Luke Dorn collected before returning the ball for Gale to score.

Gale improved that, before adding a second-half drop goal, Damien Blanch replying with a late consolation.

In their first outing under new coach Trent Robinson, the Dragons failed to recover from that bad start which brought not only Gale's two tries but an apparently serious injury to centre Setaimata Sa.

Play had to be stopped for almost 10 minutes before the New Zealander was led off and treated for concussion after being caught in the face by Oliver Wilkes' elbow in a tackle.

It took the gloss off a superb start by Quins, who led after just three minutes when debutant Chris Bailey released Gale with a superb pass and the stand-off raced half the length of the field to touch down.

Gale missed a straightforward conversion but atoned when, after Dorn had outjumped Clint Greenshields to claim a towering kick, he flicked the ball up for Gale, who not only scored again but this time made no mistake with the extras.

Quins gave themselves a little more breathing space just after the hour when they worked an opening for Gale to slot over a drop goal.

But the Dragons had the final say when they worked the ball wide for Blanch to go over for an unconverted first try of the season in the corner.

Catalan coach Trent Robinson said:
"The game was lost early on with that bad start, but at least we then stopped them from crossing our line again for the remainder of the match.

"We conceded too many penalties and I'm going to have to do a bit of work trying to work on some of the refereeing decisions.

"A few of the Super League coaches seem a bit confused with some of the interpretations."

Harlequins coach Rob Powell said:
"We saw a few flashes of Luke Gale at his best and he linked up well with Chad Randall, but it's not just about Luke, it's about the whole team.

"After that great start, we should have had the game wrapped up by half time.

"It was disappointing to concede late on, but we've spent the off season learning how to defend again."

Catalan Dragons: Greenshields, Blanch, Farrar, Sa, Stacul, Gigot, Dureau, Ferriol, Baile, Paea, Gossard, Raguin, Mounis.
Replacements: Henderson, Casty, Menzies, Fakir.

Harlequins RL: Dorn, O'Callaghan, Howell, Clubb, Melling, Gale, Randall, Ward, Ellis, Wilkes, Purdham, Burnett, Bailey.
Replacements: Ambler, Koupartisas, Bryan, Krasniqi.

Referee: Robert Hicks (Oldham)

Att: 30,891

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see also
Harlequins RL season preview 2011
09 Feb 11 |  Harlequins
Super League form guide 2011
09 Feb 11 |  My Club
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby league commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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