Harlequins maintained their unbeaten start to the season as Ollie Lindsay-Hague’s late try gave them a 26-19 win over London Irish.
An exciting LV= Cup Pool tie was finally settled in the 84th minute when Quins, who had trailed by three heading into the final three minutes of regulation time, claimed a dramatic victory.
The home side went into the match at the Twickenham Stoop boasting a 100% record at the top of the Aviva Premiership Rugby table but were without their former All Black fly-half Nick Evans, who has been rested for two weeks. Rory Clegg was handed the number 10 jersey in his place and he engineered the opening score for Ben Urdapilleta in the seventh minute.
Clegg's direct break into the heart of the visiting defence was ended by a strong tackle, but a good off-load gave possession to centre Urdapilleta, who dummied to switch the ball left only to instead step inside the defence. Clegg added the conversion, and his determination to take the game to Irish saw the visitors on the back foot and defending wave after wave of attacks.
However, it was the Exiles who were next on the scoreboard when Tom Homer landed a long-range penalty following an offence at the breakdown. Having absorbed Quins' early onslaught, the visitors entered the game's second quarter looking increasingly confident with ball in hand, ex-England trio Paul Hodgson, Nick Kennedy and Topsy Ojo leading the way.
They could have reduced the deficit to one point in the 28th minute, but Homer's penalty from 50 yards out just faded wide of the posts. The full-back was on target five minutes later to make it 7-6, though that lead soon disappeared when Clegg responded with a penalty of his own.
Quins held on to take a narrow lead into the break and then began the second half as they had started the first, driving forward in confident style.
London Irish conceded a penalty at the breakdown during their defensive efforts and Clegg's kick sailed straight between the posts to make it 13-6. Homer, though, landed two penalties to pull the Exiles to within a point at one stage before Clegg fired home his fourth goal from five attempts.
The game then burst into life in the closing stages when the Exiles crossed for their one-and-only try, David Sisi being driven over the line on 73 minutes. Homer converted to put Irish 19-16 ahead with time running out, but Clegg hauled Quins level with a penalty on 77 minutes.
Lindsay-Hague then came up trumps at the death, the replacement touching down in injury time to seal a remarkable win for the hosts.