Joe Marchant has been one of Harlequins’ most consistently good players over the last few seasons, and doesn’t necessarily sparkle like some players do, but he is quick and plays his part in matches when he can. Some readers may remember the try he scored when he gathered the ball after a kick at the posts had rebounded, coming back into play for him to catch and score from, as an example of this.
This try, which came from their game against Bristol Bears in the Premiership this season, doesn’t need too much analysis, but there are a few things to mention.
We see here how the ball has just emerged from the breakdown, and Argentina scrum-half Martin Landajo, who joined Quins from Super League side Jaguares (based in Buenos Aires) last summer, has possession. His body position shows that his first thought is to pass the ball infield towards a teammate.
If we analyse the Bears’ defence, we see that it is quite well organised, with every player lined up properly, as the yellow line indicates. However, we also see how there is a small gap that has opened up between two players.
It is through this gap that Landajo plays the ball through. You can see how the Argentinian has continued his run, due to his momentum, but the ball has gone behind the Bristol defensive line, as the black arrow shows. The clever thing was that he made this pass whilst still looking across the pitch, meaning Bristol had little to no warning that it was coming.
Joe Marchant, who plays as a centre by trade, has run in unnoticed, and has managed to get the ball down before it went out of play behind the try area, as the red arrow shows. However, whilst the analysis has mainly focused on the role that Landajo played in setting up the opportunity, this was a try that required Marchant to make the run forwards, otherwise it wouldn’t have been scored.