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Match Report: Harlequins 53 Newcastle Falcons 17

25 Mar 2017
Match Report: Harlequins 53 Newcastle Falcons 17

Harlequins kept their hopes of a top-four Aviva Premiership Rugby finish alive as they surged clear in the second half to beat Newcastle Falcons 53-17 at Twickenham Stoop.

The visitors initially went ahead through Sonatane Takulua’s converted try, but the hosts responded in style through Rob Buchanan, the returning Mike Brown, and Joe Marchant to lead 27-10 at the break.

And things looked ominous for Newcastle when Quins sealed the bonus point just two minutes into the second period – Marland Yarde taking advantage of Brown’s searing break – before Mathew Luamanu, Danny Care, and Tim Swiel helped the Londoners stretch their advantage.

Fly-half Nick Evans was impressive from the tee, landing eight place kicks from eight before being replaced on the hour mark, while Mark Wilson’s second-half try was no more than a consolation for Falcons whose top-six ambitions took a blow.

Newcastle had started brightly and grabbed the first score when Takulua flew onto an offload to touch down under the posts in the fourth minute, which he then converted.

Harlequins responded quickly through an offside penalty kicked by fly-half Nick Evans, and when a break down Quins’ left almost saw the returning Chris Robshaw over in the corner, Rob Buchanan was given a clear run-in under the posts two phases later.

The home side were soon on the scoreboard again; Tim Visser finding space on the left and passing back inside for Brown to cross the whitewash after 22 minutes.

A series of penalties saw Newcastle enter Quins’ half and eventually Takulua’s kick made it 17-10, but that was cancelled out when Juan Pablo Socino saw yellow and Evans converted the resulting penalty.

And when Marchant picked a loose pass and charged 50 metres for an interception try with the last play of the half, Quins had a commanding lead at the break.

The home side raced out of the blocks after the restart, Brown making a break and then offloading to wing Yarde who went in under the posts to secure the bonus point.

Quins were looking to keep the tempo high and Newcastle replacement Evan Olmstead was shown yellow for a challenge on Danny Care – returning from RBS 6 Nations duty.

Unable to get out of their 22 the pressure remained on the Falcons, and they conceded fifth and sixth scores when Luamanu crossed from a driving maul and Care snuck over from close range.

Dean Richards rang the changes and Newcastle began to dominate possession, getting a consolation score through Mark Wilson after a series of close-range rucks.

But Quins went past the 50-point mark with five minutes remaining when Swiel added their seventh after good work from Marchant.

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