Harlequins have been a team slowly getting back to the top of English rugby, following their overall decline under John Kingston. Under his replacement, former England defence coach Paul Gustard, they have begun to find their feet again.
This try, scored in Quins’ game against London Irish, involved some excellent play from other members of the team to set up Murley, who has been one of Quins’ star players this season. Let’s break each part of it down.
Here, we see Harlequins full-back Aaron Morris in possession, and he is looking to find a way through the Irish back line. To do this, he looks to play the pass towards Number 8 Alex Dombrandt, who has been one of Quins’ best players this season. However, this pass, marked by the red line, is just a dummy, intended to bring the opposing defender out of position, and allow Harlequins to get into the space behind him. Instead, Morris takes the ball forward, through the gap in front of him, as shown by the red arrow.
The dummy succeeded in giving him just the right amount of space that he needed to break through the Irish back line.
Now, we see Morris behind the defensive line of London Irish, and looking to offload the ball to Dombrandt before he is pulled to the floor. He succeeds in doing this, and the attack continues thanks to Morris’ good work with the ball, and, more importantly, the ball is now behind the defensive line.
Dombrandt, who is one of the most destructive players in the Premiership when he gets going, doesn’t hold onto the ball for too long, because he too is now being tackled as well. However, just before being brought to the ground, he offloads to centre Murley, wearing number 13, who then has the space to run through and score.
It was a brilliant try, but the reason it was scored was the excellent handling from Harlequins’ players in the build-up. This sort of play is typical of the Paul Gustard tactics that he has been trying to bring in since his appointment in 2018.