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Match Reaction: Harlequins 15 Newcastle Falcons 7

Match Reaction: Harlequins 15 Newcastle Falcons 7

Newcastle boss Dean Richards bemoaned his side’s attacking intent after they lost a narrow Aviva Premiership clash against Harlequins at the Stoop.

Richards saw the Falcons led 7-3 at the break thanks to a late try from Alesana Tuilagi but four penalties from Swiel after the break – to add to his first-half effort – turned the game in Harlequins’ favour.

The Falcons, who had won just once in their last 12 away games and not won at the Stoop since 2000, led with an hour gone on the clock until ill-discipline saw Swiel steal the points with his second-half kicking exploits.   

And Richards was left fuming after admitting his side had missed a golden opportunity to collect a rare away-win at the expense of Conor O’Shea’s misfiring Quins.

“The missed opportunities from us are the most galling thing,” said Richards. “We broke Quins at ease but didn’t finish it off. We weren’t clinical enough – we should have scored four or five tries easily today.

“We need to have that little bit of patience. We felt we shot ourselves in the foot rather than them winning the game.

“If we keep that pack together for the next five or six years it will be a fantastic team that we’ll have.

“We’re playing exciting rugby and we have nothing to lose against Saracens next week.

“We seem to be opening teams up and playing with a lot more adventure and flair – we are enjoying ourselves, we would have just liked to win today though.” 

Prior to kick-off, Quins had only won once in their last four league games, with only four wins coming in total from the opening nine rounds of the Premiership and that lack of confidence showed.

But despite not scoring a try and relying heavily on the boot of Swiel; O’Shea admitted it was job done against Newcastle.

“It was always going to be difficult that, we didn’t defend particularly well in the first half,” said O’Shea. “We did not have the intensity we needed in the first half at all.

“We will have a purple patch; we always do, for now we just have to stay in the fight.

“Fellas like James Chisholm, Jack Clifford and Joe Trayfoot in the back row, they will learn a huge amount from matches like today, more mentally than anything. We won comfortably in the end, it wasn’t pretty but we’ll take it.

“I thought that Matt Hopper and George Lowe in the midfield were just brilliant. They just worked their socks off. I’m very lucky that we have got Tim Swiel down here.

“He can kick. He’s a fella who I hope will have a great experience for four months and I wouldn’t mind seeing a lot more of him after Super Rugby, he can play a multitude of positions and is a very talented English-qualified player.”

Harlequins: Brown; Yarde, Hopper, Lowe, Tikoirotuma (Monye 50); Swiel, Dickson (Care 61); Lambert, Gray (Ward 48), Sinckler (Collier 48), Matthews (Twomey 73), Robson, Trayfoot, Clifford, J Chisholm.
Replacements not used: Marfo, Merrick, R Chisholm

Newcastle: Hammersley (Cato 27), Sinoti, Powell, Socino, Al Tuilagi; Catterick (An Tuilagi 69), Blair (Tipuna 65); Vickers (Fry 65) McGuigan (Lawson 65), Wilson, Green, Barrow (Thompson 31), Wilson, Welch, Hogg.
Replacements not used: Irving, Furno
 
Scorers

Harlequins
Penalties: Swiel 5 

Newcastle
Tries: Al Tuilagi
Conversions: Socino

Referee: Matthew Carley
Attendance: 13,658

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