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Match Reaction: Harlequins 21 Bath Rugby 20

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Winger Tim Visser believes the heart and desire shown by his side made victory even sweeter as Harlequins maintained their Aviva Premiership Rugby winning home record against Bath Rugby.

It was Visser himself who crossed with just four minutes on the board, while Karl Dickson added a try of his own in the second period in a tight affair in south London.

But Bath were never far out of the contest, Kane Palma-Newport and Nathan Catt helping them lead before Tim Swiel’s clinical boot saw Quins edge out the clash 21-20 at Twickenham Stoop.

“It was a performance for both Will Collier and Nick Evans who were making major milestones.  The atmosphere afterwards in the changing room was great; the celebrations were for them,” said Visser on their 100th and 200th appearances respectively.

“Most importantly it was a performance that has propelled us up the Aviva Premiership. This is important as we want for the guys returning from England, Wales and Samoa to come back to the club in a strong position.

“It was a nervy finish. The match was far closer than it should have been, we left a few scores out there but we got there and showed real heart to get the result. It shows that the margins between success and failure are so fine.

“If we came away with a one point loss it would have been all doom and gloom, that’s just professional sport. We have taken the spoils and the points today; we have been bounced up the league and we need to prepare for Newcastle Falcons next Sunday which will present its own challenge.”

For Bath it was just a second Aviva Premiership Rugby defeat of the campaign, though they weren’t without their chances at the Stoop.

A marauding run from Semesa Rokoduguni ignited their first half, Tom Homer kicking the penalty after the resulting phases, with Palma-Newport piling through bodies to keep the game a one-point contest, 11-10.

And when Catt bundled over from close range, Bath boasted the lead for the second time, only for the unnerving accuracy of Swiel to clinch four points for Quins, their fifth win of the Aviva Premiership Rugby year.

“We could have snuck it today but I think the reality was we were probably always chasing the game,” admitted the director of rugby, Todd Blackadder.

“We couldn’t exit our 22 and when we did we were kicking on the full and allowed them to build pressure.

“We need to be a little more clinical going forward but there were good performances. I thought Rokoduguni played well.

“I think it would be deserved if he got called up for England next week but that’s not my call, if he’s not playing though we’d love to have him next Saturday.”

Harlequins: Morris, Yarde, Alofa, Merchant, Visser, Evans (Swiel 14), Dickson (Mulchrone 75), Lambert, Buchanan (Ward 75), Collier, Merrick, Matthews, Chisholm, Wallace, Clifford (Naoupu 79)
Not used: Jones, South, Walker

Bath Rugby: Homer, Rokoduguni, Clark (Banahan 45), Tapuai, Brew, Bowden, Allinson (W Homer 71), Catt (Obano 77), Dunn (Batty 47), Palma-Newport (Lahiff, 47), Garvey, Attwood, Ellis, G Mercer (Grant 71), Z Mercer
Not used: Douglas, Hastings

Harlequins
Tries: Visser, Dickson
Con: Swiel
Pen: Swiel 3

Bath
Tries: Palma-Newport, Catt
Con: Homer 2
Pen: Homer 2

Referee: Dean Richards
Attendance: 14,816

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