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London Welsh 13 Harlequins 24

04 Jan 2015
London Welsh 13 Harlequins 24

Harlequins survived a scare at the Kassam Stadium to overcome London Welsh 24-13, and condemn the Exiles to their 12th consecutive Aviva Premiership Rugby loss of the season.

The home side exploded out of the blocks, Paul Rowley going over to give them a deserved lead, but Quins recovered well to edge the contest 12-10 at the break thanks to scores from Karl Dickson and Marland Yarde.

Kyle Sinkler and Tom Williams then added tries after the break to hand Quins a bonus point victory and only their second win away from home (outside of the London Double Header) this season.

The Exiles came out flying in a fast and open first quarter of an hour, and three times were denied a score by the narrowest of margins.

First, Yarde was forced to make a try-saving tackle on Nick Scott after four minutes, holding him up over the line after chasing Will Robinson’s kick.

From the resulting 5-metre scrum Piri Weepu’s cross kick was just too long for Seb Stegmann to hold on to, and the former Quin knocked on with the line at his mercy.

Welsh’s third chance came on 13 minutes, when the increasingly impressive Seb Jewell intercepted a Tim Swiel pass in the midfield, but he could not get free of George Lowe’s tackle before Weepu lost the ball forwards under pressure from Matt Hopper.

But the hosts pressure finally paid off after 22 minutes when Robinson made a break past Charlie Matthews, and Scott was able to offload for Rowley to finish off the try. Robinson added the extras to give Welsh a 7-0 lead.

Going behind seemed to inject some life into a lacklustre Quins, who immediately put some pressure on the Exiles’ line, forcing their way into the 22 after Dickson’s quick tap-and-go penalty.

And after turning over a scrum deep in Welsh territory, another quick penalty from Dickson allowed him to touch down after 27 minutes, although Swiel could not add the extras.

But some great work on the floor by Peter Browne gave the home side a penalty right in front of the posts as Harlequins failed to release in the tackle. Robinson made no mistake with the shot at goal and extended the Exiles lead to 10-5.

Once again the visitors came back strongly, and with just two minutes of the half remaining stole the ball from a Welsh lineout, before Hopper made the break and fixed the defence for Yarde charge over.

Swiel this time found the target with the conversion and put Quins ahead for the first time in the game, 12-10 at the interval

Robinson missed a chance to put the hosts back in the lead on 44 minutes, his penalty drifting wide of the mark, but Welsh made a bright start to the second-half nonetheless with Opeti Fonua and Stegmann linking up well.

It was Harlequins however who made the next impression on the scoreboard when Sinkler stormed over on 53 minutes to make it 17-10, Yarde again in the mix with the break and offload to the prop.

Robinson closed the gap with his second successful penalty after a Quins infringement in the scrum, but the visitors were unlucky not to go further ahead when Hopper’s cross kick to replacement Williams was too long.

Williams did not have to wait much longer for a try though, and on his return from injury he wrapped up the win and the bonus point for Harlequins after 72 minutes, Swiel striking the conversion through to make it 24-13.

The score remained the same until the game’s conclusion, Harlequins now unbeaten in all competitions against London Welsh since 1972.

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