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Saturday, 12 January, 2002, 17:54 GMT
Quins snatch late win
England wing Dan Luger
England wing Dan Luger was rested by Harlequins
Harlequins 29-25 Bridgend

Harlequins managed to salvage some pride in the Heineken Cup after they came back in the second half to narrowly defeat Bridgend.

However, it was far from a convincing win and after earning promotion into Europe's premier competition by winning the Shield last season, the Stoop outfit have failed to make much of an impression.

They have only won two games in Pool Four, both against Bridgend, and finished their Cup campaign third in the table behind Castres and Munster.

It was a fair effort to come back and win the game after being 25-18 down
John Kingston
Quins director of rugby
A win at home, however, will have at least pleased director of rugby John Kingston.

He knows that Harlequins had not won at home since November so this was a much-needed confidence boost for the south London side ahead of next weekend's tough Powergen Cup quarter-final tie against Leicester Tigers.

It was a cat and mouse game right from the beginning though.

After two penalties from both sides, Harlequins looked like they were going to command the game with an early Rob Jewell try.

David Slemen matched his efforts after 18 minutes with a second score after another Harlequins attack paid off.

Mark Mapletoft chipped to the right and forward Tony Diprose patted the ball into the hands of Slemen who scored.

Then Bridgend came back into the game. Within a matter of minutes they had turned around the game with two converted tries by flanker Maama Molitika and Welsh international Gareth Thomas.

Mapletoft had a chance to regain the lead with two easy penalties but he missed both and the visitors finished the first half 17-13 ahead.


Harlequins again bounced back with a third try after the break through England under-21 centre Chris Bell, but Bridgend clearly were not going to give up.

Cerith Rees scored a try after 48 minutes before full-back Adrian Durston added a drop goal.

Mapletoft kept the pressure on Bridgend with a penalty and winger Matt Moore benefited from a Mapletoft chip ahead which he chased down to score and put Quins 26-25 up after 63 minutes.

The pace slowed down in the last 15 minutes but the atmosphere was still tense.

Mapletoft missed his fifth kick of the afternoon but, with Bridgend also missing a penalty, Harlequins were given a lifeline with a 75th-minute penalty which Mapletoft converted to secure victory.

Harlequins (13) 29
Tries: Jewell, D Slemen, Bell, Moore. Pens: Mapletoft 3.

Bridgend (17) 25
Tries: Molitika, G Thomas, Rees. Cons: Rees 2. Pens: Rees. Drop Goals: Durston.

Att: 4,152

Harlequins: D Slemen; M Moore, N Burrows, C Bell, R Jewell; M Mapletoft, S Bemand; B Starr, J Roddam, J Olver, G Morgan (capt), A Codling, S White-Cooper, A Alesbrook, T Diprose.
Reps: J Dawson, W Davison, P Burke, T Douglas, T Tamarua, M Duncombe, J O'Neill.

Bridgend: A Durston; D Jones, J Devereux, J Funnell, G Thomas; C Rees, H Harries (capt); A Griffiths, A Joy, C Noon, D Jones, K Stewart, R Bryan, M Molitika, S Van Rensberg.
Reps: J Thiel, C Ferris, J Ringer, N Budgett, D James, J Hewlett, C Warlow.

Referee: Donal Courtney (Ireland).

Links to more European stories are at the foot of the page.


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