'Quins seal win despite Bachop's display
November 7, 1999
Stephen Bachop gave a five-star display but could not prevent London Irish losing 17-16 to Harlequins in a fascinating, close-fought encounter at The Stoop.
Fly-half Bachop created the Irish try and drove Quins right back into the corners.
But Harlequins took an early lead with Rob Liley slotting over two penalties in the first six minutes. As the game settled, so did the Irish and by the halfway point of the first half, Jarrod Cunningham had evened the scores with two penalties of his own.
Then Bachop made his presence felt with a pin-point pass of 25 yards, to set Conor O'Shea on his way. His pass inside found Cunningham and when he gave the return to his full-back, O'Shea crashed over in the corner. Cunningham converted from the touchline and then added his third penalty to give his side a 10-point cushion.
Further penalties from Liley either side of the break reduced the deficit to four and Quins were back in the game. Both sides went in search of tries to kill off the game, but for the next 30 minutes neither defence was prepared to give way.
Peter Richards saved a certain try by Bachop with 17 minutes of the game remaining, intercepting Robert Todd's pass five yards from their line. Cunningham then missed a simple penalty attempt with five minutes left on the clock and it was to cost them dear.
In injury time, the Irish gave away a penalty on halfway, Liley's wonderful kick to touch left Quins with a line-out just two yards from the Exiles' line. Chris Sheasby caught the throw-in and the pack bundled him over the line and 'Quins grabbed a glorious win.
As Ray McLoughlin prepares to celebrate his 75th birthday, Huw Richards pays tribute to the man and the selectors who had the wisdom to bring him into the Ireland fold
John Taylor argues the world's best XVs players must be given a chance to play in the Olympics to increase the appeal of the game
The All Blacks' form is not a peaking issue, but Hansen must threaten to wield his axe, to demand improvement, Craig Dowd writes
"It has been the World Cup that smashed down the gender barriers of the sport." Tom Hamilton looks back at a remarkable tournament