Joe Marler sin-binned for taking out Scotland captain for Harlequins - Ruck

Joe Marler sin-binned for taking out Scotland captain for Harlequins

In a gripping encounter, Harlequins clinched a late victory over Glasgow Warriors to secure their berth in the quarter-finals of the Investec Champions Cup, with hooker Sam Riley emerging as the hero.

The match kicked off with a burst of energy from the Warriors, with Scott Cummings putting them on the scoreboard with an early try. However, Harlequins swiftly countered with an impressive display, notching up three tries courtesy of Andre Esterhuizen, Marcus Smith, and Cadan Murley, establishing a commanding 21-7 lead.

Despite the setback, Glasgow Warriors rallied, with Johnny Matthews and George Horne injecting fresh momentum into the game. Yet, it was Riley who stole the show with a crucial try, securing a historic win for Harlequins.

However, the victory was not without its challenges. Veteran prop Joe Marler found himself in the sin bin after a mistimed tackle on Scotland captain Rory Darge, complicating matters for the visitors.

As the Warriors pressed on, Marler’s absence was keenly felt. With possession held deep in their territory, Marler’s attempt to disrupt play inadvertently resulted in a clash with Darge, underscoring the intensity of the match.


Fullback: Israel Folau (Australia)

Owens said: “For me, it’s nip and tuck between Halfpenny and Folau, next to nothing to choose between them. Leigh is brilliant because under the high ball and with his kicking at goal under pressure. He may not always break the line when running but puts his body on the line in defence and is a top-notch match-winner.

“But I go for Folau – only just, I should stress – because of his ability to seemingly beat his man every time he gets the ball in his hand. He’s such an exciting player and like Leigh he is one of the best under the high ball.

“It’s a toss of a coin for me… and it’s come down in Folau’s favour.”

Winger: Stuart Hogg (Scotland)

Owens said: “How can you fail to be impressed when watching Hogg play. He’s so exciting as he burst into that line and, of course, was named Six Nations player of the tournament.

“I know he’s a full-back for Scotland, but he is so quick and direct he could easily play on the wing. He reminds me a bit of Shane Williams with some of the things he does.

“When you see who is on the other wing in my team, you’ll see how they would work brilliantly in tandem.”

Outside-centre: Brian O’Driscoll (Ireland)

Owens said: “Not only is he one of the greatest centres in the history of rugby union but he’s a fantastic man off the field as well. O’Driscoll has been a wonderful ambassador for the sport and a real leader. He always respected referees and set the right example for others to follow.

“A legend of the game who conducted himself superbly, on and off the pitch.”

Inside-centre: Ma’a Nonu (New Zealand)

Owens said: “He’s another brilliant player and after every game, win or lose, he would come up and give me a hug. Ma’a has always found time at after-match functions or at breakfast if we’ve been staying at the same hotel to come over and have a chat.

“What a player, mind, too. One of the stalwarts of the New Zealand side for so many years.”

Winger: Shane Williams (Wales)

Owens said: “When people ask me who is the best player I have refereed it’s pretty much an impossible task to pick one because I’ve been lucky enough to take charge of so many greats.

“But if I’m pushed, I would pick Shane for what he achieved after coming from football at 17 or 18 years of age.

“He was in the mould of Gerald Davies in how he left defenders gasping for air as he beat them with those dazzling sidesteps. Nobody would fancy defending against a back three of Shane, Hogg and Folau, I can tell you that.”