Harlequins’ director of rugby Dean Richards refused to criticise centre De Wet Barry after his second-half horror tackle on England star Mathew Tait saw the South African red-carded in the 15-9 win over Newcastle.
Sportinglife reports that the game stopped for several minutes as paramedics gave Tait oxygen, before the England centre was helped from the field following a cheap shot from Barry.
Four penalties from the boot of Adrian Jarvis and an opportunist drop goal from England hopeful Danny Care handed Quins a sixth win in seven attempts and saw Richards’ men cement their Guinness Premiership play-off charge.
Richards urged England boss Brian Ashton to cap scrum-half Care on this summer’s tour to New Zealand after a fine run of form has seen the number nine spring to prominence.
“De Wet has apologised to Mathew and he has apologised to me,” said Richards. “He has an unfair reputation as a dirty player and he doesn’t deserve it.
“One of the concerns we’ve had over the last three years has been the inexperience of our side but we’re starting to control games now and that’s a real help.
“If three scrum-halves go on tour to New Zealand this summer than Danny Care should be one of them. What the management have to consider is when is the best time in a player’s development to cap them in New Zealand – it’s a heck of a place to win your first cap.”
With England star Nick Easter returning to the Quins back-row and another impeccable performance from scrum half Care, Richards’ men never looked like surrendering crucial Premiership points.
Newcastle came out in determined mood to end their four-game losing streak and the Falcons took an early lead thanks to a penalty from the boot of England number 10 Jonny Wilkinson.
Newcastle’s impressive start quickly evaporated at the Stoop as Jordan Turner-Hall recovered the kick off and after Newcastle hands in the ruck Jarvis kicked Quins level.
On 17 minutes England hopeful Care demonstrated his new-found confidence by landing an opportunist drop goal after Newcastle had surrendered possession at a lineout.
Jarvis made amends for his earlier miss by slotting his second penalty of the game, before Wilkinson reduced Newcastle’s arrears with a long-range effort of his own after Quins had infringed at the breakdown.
With the half-time hooter ready to sound referee Martin Fox penalised Newcastle for straying offside and Jarvis extended Quins’ lead to 12-6 at the break.
In a dull affair after the break the game petered out following the red card for Barry and the ensuing nasty injury caused to England youngster Tait.
Wilkinson kicked the penalty to reduce the arrears further but prior to the cheap shot from Barry Harlequins had been in total control and had added to their half-time lead through the boot of Jarvis.
Newcastle boss Steve Bates slammed inexperienced referee Fox, blaming him for his side’s loss.
He said: “The difference between winning and losing was the referee’s decisions.
“I thought there were inconsistencies that didn’t help us.
“We also ran into touch three times under no pressure and didn’t take advantage of them going down to 14 men.
“As for the Tait incident, I didn’t see the tackle as it was that late but we’ve managed to have a look at him and Mathew is fine.”Tweet