Harlequins lose their head in opener - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Harlequins lose their head in opener

06/09/2009 06:36:07 AM Comments (0)

Harlequins's first attempt to put the fake blood affair behind them with victory on the pitch ended in defeat as they lost 26-15 to London rivals Wasps in their English Premiership opener.

Saturday's defeat at Twickenham was compounded by lock George Robson being sent-off for head-butting just 46 seconds into the match.

Despite that Harlequins forged a 12-5 lead thanks to tries from England wing Ugo Monye and new signing Gonzalo Camacho.

But Wasps fought back with former Leicester wing Tom Varndell marking his debut for his new club with two tries before a late penalty try sealed victory.

For Harlequins, there was no escaping Dean Richards.

The ex-England No 8 resigned from his post as Quins rugby director and was subsequently banned from rugby union for three years for his role in orchestrating the incident that saw now suspended wing Tom Williams bite on a fake blood capsule during a European Cup quarter-final against eventual champions Leinster in April.

That allowed Williams to go off the field and meant Quins could get injured goalkicker Nick Evans back on as a blood replacement.

But on Saturday it was referee Dean Richards, a namesake of the shamed former British and Irish Lion, who took a decision with dispiriting consequences for Quins after Robson had become involved in an off-the-ball scuffle and aimed a head-butt at Wasps scrum-half Joe Simpson.

Referee Richards, acting on the advice of a touch judge, then showed Robson the red card.

Earlier, in the first half of Saturday's Twickenham double-header, Saracens beat London Irish, last season's losing Premiership finalists, 18-14.

Sarries were 18-3 ahead at the break thanks to a try, conversion and two penalties by New Zealander Glen Jackson, and another try by Andy Saull.

But although Irish rallied in the second-half, thanks to George Stowers's try and penalties by Ryan Lamb and Delon Armitage, the England full-back, Sarries had done enough for victory.

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