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Sunday, 26 March 2017

Harlequins run in 7 tries against Newcastle Falcons to move up the Premiership Table


It was a beautiful sunny day engulfing South West London, perfect conditions for free-running rugby.

There was a buoyant attitude from both sets of fans and Harlequins were hopeful for a win to kick off the last 5 games of the premiership season.

After 17 rounds of play, Harlequins found themselves in 7th place, 2 points behind Northampton Saints.

Their opponents, Newcastle Falcons trailed the hosts by 6 points. Quins were also bolstered by past performances between these two teams: Newcastle Falcons having not won at the Twickenham Stoop for 17 years.

Chris Robshaw returned to the starting line-up after three months off for a shoulder injury; Nick Evans back at fly-half and the day also saw the return of the international players.

As the 3pm kick-off approached, the Twickenham Stoop fell silent in remembrance of the tragedy in Westminster during the week.

The game got underway and the visitors, wearing orange, earned a penalty and kicked for a line-out just inside the Harlequins half. Falcons secured lineout ball and their scrum-half Takulua crossed the whitewash within the opening 2 minutes. Conversion added: Harlequins 0 – 7 Newcastle Falcons.

The hosts were awarded a scrum on the restart after the wind caught the ball and caused Newcastle to fumble. Care fed, Luamanu retrieved. Quick hands saw the ball pass to Visser on the wing before returning to the centre. Penalty awarded against the hosts and Falcons again found touch for a lineout inside Harlequins territory.

The hosts, despite looking panicked at times, stole possession and earned advantage; the referee bringing play back to the scene of the crime for Evans to find touch. Harlequins had a good attacking platform. Buchanan found his mark, a maul formed. Care released the ball, tripping up as he did so, but the hosts retained possession. A knock-on from Falcons handed the hosts advantage but it came to nothing. Play returned for a scrum just metres from the posts.

The referee signalled advantage for offside and Care offloaded the ball. Yarde attempted to get over the line; stopped before he could cross; offloaded and out wide to Visser who danced through tackles. Attempt after attempt but Harlequins could not cross.

Play was brought back and Evans lined up the posts: Harlequins 3 – 7 Newcastle Falcons after 13 minutes.

The men in orange got play underway again. Quins decided not to kick from the ruck and kept ball in hand. It paid off as Newcastle were again penalised.

The boot of Evans moved play back into opposition territory. The hosts secured lineout ball but the Falcons stole only to spill. Visser was on hand to regather and ran for the line. He was brought down short but support was prompt and Buchanan powered over for a try, converted by Evans: Harlequins 10 – 7 Newcastle Falcons.

The restart ball was again gathered well. A thumping tackle was made on Robshaw but the ball spilled backwards. Momentum continued in Harlequins favour as chants rang out around the Twickenham Stoop.

Another penalty by Falcons on the halfway line and Care acted quickly. He darted through the defence and was eventually tackled in the opposition 22. Play was halted in the 19th minute for players to receive treatment. It had been a fast-paced opening quarter of the game.

A scrum to Falcons resumed proceedings and the might of the host set-piece saw possession switch. Care fed, Luamanu gathered and the ball passed quickly to the far wing. Yarde gained ground before Care was called upon to recycle. The ball was sent to Brown who usually opts to run. On this occasion he chipped through hoping Visser could get on the end of it. Unfortunately there was too much on the ball and it went dead.

Newcastle tried to slow down the pace by refusing to kick off proceedings. Instead they kept passing the ball up and down the line between themselves. Eventually they were asked to get play going and no sooner had they kicked than Quins gathered, ran the ball back and between them Visser and Brown broke through the defence, Brown crossing the whitewash. Evans converted and after 23 minutes: Harlequins 17 – 7 Newcastle Falcons.

The restart was kicked long and on this occasion Care box-kicked from the ruck gaining distance. Newcastle started their return run but a thumping tackle from Marler kept play in the visitors half.

Quins contested the ruck but Newcastle kept possession. A forward pass went unnoticed by the referee however a knock-on a few metres later handed a scrum to the hosts.

Possession was short-lived as Quins themselves fumbled under tackle. Less than a minutes later and Care was feeding the scrum still inside his own half. They recycled the ball efficiently and Care box-kicked from the ruck. Visser won the aerial battle but the whistle blew for a double movement. Newcastle attempted to gain momentum and Quins were again penalised for a failed interception, which saw the ball being knocked-on instead of caught.

Falcons made it into the Quins half where the hosts were penalised for not releasing a tackled player.

The men in orange lined up the posts: Harlequins 17 – 10 Newcastle Falcons.

With 8 minutes left of the first half, Newcastle had to make a replacement: Vickers left the field for Harris for a Head Injury Replacement.

Harlequins kicked off again and retained possession following a good chase and aerial battle. They attempted to break through on the far wing, before switching play central. Ward knocked-on under tackle but the referee took play back for a Quins’ scrum.

Advantage was signalled; penalty given and yellow card to Newcastle’s Socino for a high tackle straight around the throat. Evans kicked the penalty: Harlequins 20 – 10 Newcastle Falcons. 6 minutes remaining of the first half.

Falcons again delayed the restart and the referee had to move them on. Quins gathered and kicked for touch. Newcastle fumbled the line-out, advantage to Quins, but they broke through the defence and gained ground, knocking-on just outside the 22.

News then came – the substitution for the Head Injury Assessment was permanent: Harris was to stay on the field.

Falcons managed to retain possession from the scrum despite a strong challenge by Quins. The visitors were forced to box-kick out and it went straight into touch handing possession to Quins.

The hosts secured their line-out ball but were turned over; Falcons kicked into touch on the halfway line.

Buchanan found his mark in the line-out. They formed a maul but it could not get going. Care ran with the ball, passed to Visser and seeing danger approach, helped his winger into touch.

Newcastle won the line-out but the visitors were penned in their own half. Passing slowed and Marchant intercepted, running over the whitewash for a try. Evans added the conversion: Harlequins 27 – 10 Newcastle Falcons on the stroke of half-time.

Half-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 27 – 10 Newcastle Falcons

Evans kicked off the second half and again Quins kept possession. They found touch and Newcastle secured the lineout. The hosts overturned possession and Care recycled the ball quickly, Visser passing to Yarde who crossed the try line. Evans added the conversion: Harlequins 34 – 10 Newcastle Falcons in the 43rd minute.

Quins returned the restart ball and Newcastle kicked for touch. Visser managed to keep the ball in play and Evans kicked on. The ball eventually went into touch just metres from the try line. Newcastle secured lineout ball and sliced into touch.

Play was paused as replacements were made Olmstead came on in place of Chick for the Falcons in the 45th minute.

A scrum was awarded to the visitors still within their own half following a knock-on but a penalty was awarded to the hosts for offside. Evans placed the ball in touch just shy of the whitewash. Buchanan found his mark. They formed a maul and the Falcons engulfed Care as he attempted to release the ball.

Another penalty to the hosts and Wilson was sent to the bin once again reducing Newcastle to 14 men. He received yet more boos as he tripped over a young ball boy whilst heading to his seat – neither player nor ball boy seemed injured.

Evans again went for touch despite an easy three points. The line-out was secured and the maul rolled over the line for Mat Luamanu to drop on the ball. Evans again converted: Harlequins 41 – 10 Newcastle Falcons with 30 minutes remaining.

Newcastle restarted the game; Evans kicked long; Brown gathered the highball, which was returned by the opposition. The hosts then kept ball in hand and after a moment of confusion, Newcastle were tackled into touch on the halfway line.

The visitors brought on several replacements and the game restarted. Quins kept possession and luckily for Care, a blocked chip through from the scrum-half landed back in his hands to retain possession. After a few phases, Care box-kicked long. Unfortunately it rolled dead allowing Newcastle to clear their lines.

Visser took the simple catch and Quins ran with ball in hand. Care again kept the ball alive by recycling quickly. The team were gearing up for another try and this time Care crossed the line himself.


24 minutes remaining.

Evans added the conversion and there was a real buoyant mood in the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 48 – 10 Newcastle Falcons.

The replacements came for Harlequins as Collier left the field for Sinckler.

The restart ball was knocked on by Merrick and then a penalty was then awarded to the opposition for offside.

Lineout to Newcastle on the host 22. A good challenge from Quins but entering from the side handed Falcons a kick into touch.

They formed a maul and advantage was awarded. The referee blew for the penalty.

Swiel came on for Evans – the fly half playing a good game following his return from injury. Evans had a rousing applause.

Newcastle by this time was also back to full strength with sin-bin served.

Quins were awarded a penalty themselves following dominant defence. The ball then found touch still in their own half.

Falcons overthrew the line but kept possession. Defence from the hosts was strong and the visitors found themselves being pushed back.

Advantage to Quins who stole possession and the penalty came. Swiel placed the ball long in touch for an attacking lineout on the 22. This time Buchanan threw long but, like Newcastle, Harlequins kept possession. That was until the hosts were penalised. Falcons kicked long but failed to find touch. Brown ran the ball back into the opposition half. Marler knocked on and replacements were made:

Matthews replaced Horwill with 15 minutes remaining.

The scrum held firm for both sides and Newcastle were able to break into Quins’ territory. Yarde made a desperate tackle on Sowrey who had broken through the defence. The visitors were building up their own momentum and found themselves metres from the line. Offside handed a penalty to Newcastle that they took quickly but were again stopped short of the line. Another phase later and Wilson crossed, converted by Delany: 13 minutes left.

Marler and Buchanan were replaced by Gray and Lambert for Harlequins.

The restart ball found distance but an accidental high tackle handed the visitors a penalty.

They kicked for a line-out still within their own half. Falcons kept possession and earned an advantage. The visitors could not breakout and so took the penalty, kicking for touch. Visser claimed the ball before it reached the line and kept play alive. He sent the ball back up the field.

Newcastle decideed to keep hold of the ball and made their way back into host territory.

Sinckler received treatment before engaging in the home scrum. Penalty was awarded to Newcastle for early engagement.

Errors were now slipping into the hosts’ play.

Visser stole possession and ran along the wing, eventually being tackled into touch. Care and Visser received a standing ovation for their efforts as they left the battlefield, making way for Mulchrone and Alofa Alofa with 8 minutes remaining.

Newcastle secured line-out ball but Quins kept the pressure on. The hosts refused to allow the visitors to run the ball out from deep and so they were forced to box-kick, finding little distance.

Matthews secured the ball following the lineout and a maul formed. It collapsed but Newcastle earned the penalty. They sliced into touch, still unable to make it out of their own half.

Newcastle formed a maul and then broke away. Quins fought hard and turned over possession; Mulchrone box-kicking and finding touch.

On the fans cheered.

Newcastle took a quick penalty after the hosts were penalised in the lineout. Another penalty and Newcastle again chose to run. Harlequins stripped the ball and Marchant chipped through to Swiel who sped away and crossed the line. He was unable to convert: Harlequins 53 – 17 Newcastle Falcons. Less than 2 minutes left.

The restart barely made 10 metres and the visitors reclaimed the ball and ran it up to the Quins’ 22.

They recycled well but the hosts kept the defensive pressure on.

The fans counted down the clock. The referee awarded Harlequins the penalty and the ball was duly kicked into touch.

Full-Time at the Twickenham Stoop: Harlequins 53 – 17 Newcastle Falcons

Mike Brown was named Man of the Match in front of a sell-out crowd. The bonus-point win moved Harlequins into 6th place in the premiership table. They face Saracens at Wembley in two weeks.

Harlequins
15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 1 Joe Marler, 2 Rob Buchanan, 3 Will Collier, 4 George Merrick, 5 James Horwill, 6 Chris Robshaw, 7 Dave Ward ©, 8 Mat Luamanu

Replacements
16 Joe Gray, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Jack Clifford, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Tim Swiel, 23 Alofa Alofa

Newcastle Falcons
15 Alex Tait, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Dominic Waldouck, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Sinoti Sinoti, 10 Joel Hodgson, 9 Sonatane Takulua, 1 Rob Vickers, 2 Scott Lawson, 3 Joe Welsh, 4 Calum Green, 5 Mark Wilson, 6 Callum Chick, 7 Will Welch ©, 8 Nili Latu

Replacements
16 Ben Sowrey, 17 Ben Harris, 18 David Wilson, 19 Evan Olmstead, 20 Ally Hogg, 21 Michael Young, 22 Mike Delany, 23 Chris Harris
posted by Radio Jackie News Team @ 1:45 pm  

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