Evans, Care star for Quins

2014-10-18 08:31
Nick Evans (Gallo Images)

Paris - Former All Black Nick Evans and new dad Danny Care starred as Harlequins got the revamped European Rugby Champions Cup season underway on Friday with a 25-9 win over French side Castres.

The two Pool 2 sides were level 3-3 at the break after a penalty each from Castres' South African-born Rory Kockott and flyhalf Evans for London club Quins.

In the second half Evans went on to add a further half dozen penalties, and set up England scrumhalf Care's try which he duly converted.

Whilst the home side enjoyed much of the possession in the first period Castres held their own with a determined defensive display, making 81 tackles before the break.

Four minutes after the restart Evans put Quins ahead against a side struggling in the French Top 14.

After he'd kicked two more penalties and two from Kockott the game entered the last quarter delicately poised at 12-6 to Quins.

A sublime chip over his namesake Max Evans set up Care, who became a father for the first time last week, for the first try of the new Cup campaign in the 66th minute.

He celebrated with a baby-rocking gesture celebration performed by Bebeto and Romario at the 1994 World Cup.

Evans converted and got a couple more penalties to get Quins off to a solid start to Pool 2.

Quins coach Conor O'Shea was relieved at the result after his side's difficult start to the season.

He said: "We haven't been buzzing recently, but it won't take much to get the team buzzing again..

"That was control, we were really ambitious with the way we played in that first half.

"That was not a weak Castres front five, but our scrum and line-out were excellent.

"We have a long way to go, we know that, but this was a real step forward."

Double defending champions Toulon begin the defence of their European crown at home to Scarlets on Sunday, while last year's beaten finalists Saracens entertain French heavyweights Clermont in the revamped competition on Saturday.

Now known as the European Champions Cup, the tournament has been pared down to 20 teams (seven English, six French, three Irish, two Welsh, one Scottish and one Italian) in five pools, the product of more than two years of political wrangling between the English, French and Celtic nations.

Only the five pool winners and the three best pool runners-up will qualify for the knock-out stage.

European Rugby Champions Cup result on Friday:

Pool 2

Harlequins (ENG) 25 Castres (FRA) 9

Playing on Saturday (times SA)

Pool 1

Sale (ENG) v Munster (IRL) (14:00)

Saracens (ENG) v Clermont (FRA) (16:15)

Pool 3

Leicester (ENG) v Ulster (IRL) (20:45)

Pool 4

Glasgow (SCO) v Bath (ENG) (16:15)

Pool 5

Racing-Metro (FRA) v Northampton (ENG) (18:15)


Pool 2

Leinster (IRL) v Wasps (ENG) (18:15)

Pool 3

Toulon (FRA) v Scarlets (WAL) (16:15)

Pool 4

Toulouse (FRA) v Montpellier (FRA) (14:00)

Pool 5

Ospreys (WAL) v Treviso (ITA) (14:00)

Read more on:    heineken cup  |  rugby

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