Nick Evans returned from a broken leg to score a superb solo try as Harlequins beat Grenoble at the Twickenham Stoop and qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup final.
Nick Evans returned from a broken leg to score a superb solo try as Harlequins beat Grenoble at the Twickenham Stoop and qualify for the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Jamie Roberts’ first-half try gave the home side a 13-6 lead at half time and Evans’ first action as a second-half substitute was to set up and score his own try.
George Lowe crossed for a third Harlequins try with ten minutes remaining as Grenoble could only muster two first-half penalties.
Ben Botica gave Harlequins the lead in the fifth minute with a straight-forward penalty after Grenoble were penalised for wheeling the scrum.
The visitors were dealt a blow shortly after ten minutes with Nigel Hunt going off injured and they went further behind minutes later as Roberts crossed for the opening try.
A long pass was floated out to the left wing and from the recycled ball Danny Care found Roberts to burst through the Grenoble back line and touch down, Botica adding the extras.
Grenoble reduced the deficit almost from the re-start as Jonathan Wisniewski slotted over a penalty, but Botica returned the favour minutes later to re-establish the ten-point advantage.
Wisniewski kept his side within touching distance with another penalty shortly before 30 minutes as Harlequins were penalised for not rolling away after the tackle.
Lucas Dupont then thought he was in for a try after the half hour but play was brought back for a forward pass as the visitors enjoyed a spell in Harlequins territory as the first half ended 13-6 to the home side.
Conor O’Shea’s men came out firing in the second half but despite being camped in the Grenoble half for the first ten minutes they failed to add to their score.
O’Shea then changed things up and brought on Evans to a hero's welcome in the 51st minute for his first game back after a broken leg in February, replacing Botica.
The change had immediate impact as, following a series of drives, Evans placed a grubber kick through the Grenoble defence and ran onto it himself to touch down under the posts before kicking the extras.
Only a fine show of defence stopped Grenoble hitting back on the hour mark as Harlequins held them on the line for several minutes before the visitors infringed.
Harlequins then immediately went on the attack and despite a missed penalty from Evans, and then a missed drop at goal, the fly-half did extend the lead from the tee on 67 minutes.
A 17-point lead was then further extended as Lowe collected Care’s grubber kick to ground the ball under the posts, Evans again adding the extras.
The home side were 24 points up with ten minutes to play and try as they might Grenoble could not hit back.
Harlequins go on to play either Newport Gwent Dragons or Montpellier in the final in Lyon next month.
Harlequins: Brown, Yarde, Lowe (Chisholm 72), Roberts, Visser, Botica (Evans 51), Care (Dickson 69), Marler (Lambert 69), Gray (Ward 69), Jones (Sinckler 57), Horwill, Twomey (Matthews 67), Robshaw, Wallace, Easter (Clifford 62)
Tries: Roberts 12, Evans 53, Lowe 70
Conversions: Botica 13, Evans 54 71
Penalties: Botica 6 18, Evans 67
Aplon, Mignot (Gengenbacher 64), Farrell, Hunt (Estebanez 11), Dupont, Wisniewski, McLeod, Taumalolo (Barcella 57), Heguy (Jammes 62), Edwards (Desmaison 8), Hand, Percival (Marie 67), Diaby (Vanderglas 67, Hart 69), Alexandre, Setephano
Penalties: Wisniewski 16 26
Referee: John Lacey