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Match Report: Harlequins 46 Newcastle Falcons 25

02 Apr 2016
Match Report: Harlequins 46 Newcastle Falcons 25

Harlequins kept pace with the top four thanks to their 46-25 victory over Aviva Premiership Rugby strugglers Newcastle Falcons.

A Tim Visser double and scores from Jack Clifford, Joe Gray, Joe Marchant and Marland Yarde means Quins are currently five points off fourth-placed Leicester Tigers – with Wasps facing Northampton Saints tomorrow.

Harelquins did suffer a second-half scare at Twickenham Stoop though as Nili Latu’s brace and Marcus Watson’s try meant Newcastle only trailed 28-25 with less than 20 minutes remaining before Quins pulled away.

Harlequins had won just one of their last five Aviva Premiership games, while Newcastle had lost their previous five.

But the visitors did head into this one having claimed the previous two meetings between the sides and it was the Falcons who started promisingly as their early pressure earned them a third-minute penalty which fly-half Mike Delany duly converted.

Harlequins’ response was immediate and convincing though, with tries by winger Visser and flanker Clifford putting them in the ascendancy.

Visser capitalised on a Newcastle error in the sixth minute, intercepting around 40 metres out and running unchallenged to score under the posts.

Newcastle’s Delany did make it 7-6 with another penalty from the 40-metre line, but after a spell of Harlequins pressure, Clifford was able to stretch and plant the ball over the line. A second Ben Botica’s conversion meant it became 14-6 to Conor O’Shea’s men.

There then followed a bitty 20 minutes of play, peppered with stoppages, but shortly before half-time Quins hooker Gray’s converted try gave the home side a 21-6 half time lead.

Harlequins began the second half on the front foot, in search of the fourth try that would earn them an all-important bonus point.

And after determined rucking on Newcastle’s five-metre line, the ball was released quickly to find spare man Marchant who had created an overload on the left-hand side to score, with Botica converting for 28-6.

A comeback looked unlikely, but Newcastle reduced the deficit just two minutes later when winger Watson went over after good work by replacement Sean Robinson. But Delany failed to convert.

As clouds gathered over the Stoop, a sense of tension seemed to wrack the home crowd as Newcastle got even closer on the scoreboard.

Lock Latu hurled himself over the line from a yard and this time Delany converted to reduce the arrears to just ten points.

And the Tongan forward was at it again on the hour mark, mauling strongly to score a crucial try that was duly converted by Delany, meaning the game was delicately poised at 28-25.

However, the momentum swung again as a pair of Botica penalties in the next seven minutes eased the pressure on Harlequins, putting them more than a full score ahead.

Visser then scored his second try of the match with eight minutes remaining, getting on the end of a grubber to make it 39-25.

And after Delany was showed yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the dying stages, Yarde went over for Quins with the last play of the game: Botica converting to make it 46-25.

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