Leicester v Harlequins
Richards disappointed with error count
November 22, 2008
Harlequins boss Dean Richards was disappointed with his side's accuracy © Getty Images
Harlequins boss Dean Richards admitted his side were their own worst enemies as ruthless Leicester seized on Quins' mistakes to go third in the Premiership with a 27-14 victory.
Richards watched his side fumble the first kick-off, allowing Johne Murphy to score before Tigers fly-half Derick Hougaard stole the show with 17 points. And Richards, who was also angered by Matt Smith's second-half try, insists the defeat was self-inflicted.
"We gave Leicester the first 13 points," he said. "The first kick-off, we have lost it and they have scored," he said. "We get a kick-off again and we have dropped it again and they have scored another.
"They are 10-3 up with only 10 minutes gone. You can't allow yourself to come to a place like this and have to try to claw yourself back into a game early on. Matt Smith's try was well over the dead-ball line yet it was still given. It was a game-changing decision, the wrong decision.
"If you don't get help here you are never going to win. I am not going to blame the ref because all in all the blame lies with ourselves because of our poor start."
After Quins failed to claim the Leicester kick-off Hougaard gathered before combining with centre pairing Aaron Mauger and Dan Hipkiss to send Murphy over in the corner. Hougaard converted and exchanged two penalties with Quins fly-half Nick Evans before Leicester got their second try after 32 minutes.
The same midfield combination were involved for the Tigers. Hipkiss smashed through two tackles before offloading to Mauger who fed Hougaard to touch down. Just before the break an Evans' penalty cut the gap to make it 20-9 to the home side at half-time.
The game was effectively settled by Leicester's third try after 44 minutes when Smith latched on to his own grubber kick to touch down. Leicester failed to get the bonus-point try and instead replacement hooker Chris Brooker maintained Quins' run of scoring a try in every match this season with three minutes remaining.
Tigers boss Heyneke Meyer reserved special praise for Hougaard, who played despite a torn hamstring. "Derick has been struggling with a hamstring injury of late and he has a 3cm tear but he has been working very hard," he said.
"He should not have played today but his all-round game including his kicking was good and he scored a try today for us. We really needed him and he has been superb for us. We have been struggling for injuries and we had to rely on a lot of our academy players as replacements today.
"I am very proud of the guys they showed a lot of character."