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Harlequins slay Catalan Dragons
The English Super League side finish off their season with a shock 32-24 victory.
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2008 20:58 GMT

Rob Purdham was a standout performer for the Harlequins [GALLO/GETTY]
London Harlequins rugby league coach Brian McDermott believes his side has given the Catalan Dragons the perfect tonic prior to the start of the English Super League finals by defeating Mick Potter's men 32-24 in the final game of the regular season at the Stoop in London.

While the London side’s season now ends, the Dragons will embark on their maiden finals campaign when they host Warrington next Saturday night in Perpignan.

But despite the defeat, McDermott feels the loss will give the French side the necessary reality check before the club's biggest game in their short history.

"I think that would have been the exact sort of game Mick Potter would have wanted before the finals," McDermott explained.

"In an ironic sort of way you want a loss, not by too many, to focus the side and ensure they don't turn up to training thinking they are the bee's knees despite finishing third."

"There will be a lot of focus and commitment from them at training this week."

'Scrappy'

His counterpart Potter didn't present himself as a man who had just received a welcomed gift after the match and was at a loss to explain his side's errant handling.

"It was pretty scrappy. I can't remember a game when we would have made as many errors," he lamented.

"I'm not sure, the conditions weren't a factor. Our confidence probably took a bit of a knock, but we'll go back to our routine to come back fresh and upbeat next week."

The first half saw the Dragons get off to a solid start with hooker Aaron Gorrell scoring the first points through a penalty kick after eleven minutes.

This was followed by a try five-eighth Adam Mogg after the Australian darted from dummy half and crashed over under the posts.

The former Queensland State of Origin player had taken advantage of the momentum his side had created, but just as it looked like the floodgates were about to open the momentum of the Dragons vanished and the game swung the way of the home side.

Catch and pass

With errors from the visitors mounting the Harlequins scored four unanswered tries to erase the deficit and then set up a big lead.

Julien Rinaldi scored two tries in his final game for Quins [GALLO/GETTY] 
Fullback Will Sharp was the first to score when he raced 50 metres to touch down after being put into space by an excellent short ball.

The London club was then unlucky not to add to the tally when winger Jon Wells was called back due a perceived forward pass, but their disappointment was short lived when Chad Randall dived over from dummy half.

The hooker had to work considerably harder for his second, but it was well worth the effort after a sublime interchange from Rob Purdham and Randall after the initial break from Daniel Heckenberg set Randall on his way.

Suddenly it was the Harlequins who were in a freewheeling mood as Purdham then bagged his own as his kicked ahead a cross field kick on the half volley displaying some moves more suited to some of the famous football grounds in the city.

Super sub

It wasn't until a further try the Harlequins Frenchman  Julien Rinaldi in one of his first touches of the ball that the French based side then awoke and Casey McGuire crossed to respond.

A double by Catalan winger Dmitri Pelo then brought the visitors back to within four points, before a further try to Rinaldi sealed the game for the Londoners.

The other match in the first week of the Super League finals sees Wigan host Bradford on Friday.

St Helens and Leeds, who finished first and second, receive the week off before playing each other on Friday 19 September.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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