Alofa Alofa struck with two second-half tries to inspire Harlequins to a comeback 28-22 bonus-point win against Worcester Warriors at Sixways and seal an Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-final.
Wynand Olivier’s converted try within five minutes was backed up by a Bryce Heem effort on his injury return after just ten minutes to put the Warriors 14-0 up.
Charlie Walker pulled Quins back into contention with a searing individual effort, but it was Worcester who continued to dominate and could have extended their lead on 40 minutes, but Ryan Mills’ penalty attempt struck the posts.
It was Worcester who struck next though, Joe Taufete’e crashing over from a driving maul but Charlie Matthews’ intercept kept Harlequins within touching distance before Alofa Alofa’s score took John Kingston’s side ahead.
With Wasps, Bristol and Cardiff all losing Harlequins will top Pool 3 and qualify for the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals #COYQ
— Harlequins (@Harlequins) January 28, 2017
It looked touch-and-go for Harlequins when Mills knocked over a penalty on 65 minutes, but Alofa’s second try – converted by Jackson – took the visitors 28-22 ahead and after Darren Barry was sent to the bin, Quins held out to go top of Pool 3.
After just four minutes Ben Howard capitalised on turnover ball to break 50 metres in an early statement of intent before Tevita Cavubati burst through the Quins line and fed Olivier for the opening score.
Jackson Willison then carved out a fine break before finding Heem, the New Zealander making no mistake on his return to Warriors colours.
Ruaridh Jackson missed a shot at goal to get Quins moving with just under 20 minutes gone, but it wasn’t long before Walker sliced through from 35 metres out to race under the sticks, with Scotland international Jackson converting.
Willison very nearly sent Howard over with another piece of clever footwork, but Howard was hauled down by the final man.
— Premiership Rugby (@premrugby) January 28, 2017
Mills then missed a penalty chance right on the stroke of half-time, to leave the two sides poised at 14-7 at the break.
American hooker Taufete’e went over from the back of a driving maul six minutes after the turn to ensure they maintained momentum – though Mills kick went awry.
Matthews struck with another Quins counterpunch, intercepting on half way to canter home before Alofa scored a sparkling try, flumoxing several defenders with some brilliant footwork to cross in the corner.
Jackson then thumped over a touchline conversion to put Harlequins ahead for the first time with 20 minutes remaining.
But Kingston’s side gifted Mills a chance to move Worcester back ahead five minutes later, giving away a penalty in front of the posts, which the No. 10 knocked over.
But Alofa’s broken-field try pulled Quins back ahead and when Barry saw yellow, the visitors were able to shut Worcester out for the win.
Thanks for following, have a safe journey home and we’ll see you back at Sixways vs Saracens on Saturday 11 February! #WeAreWarriors
— Worcester Warriors🏉 (@WorcsWarriors) January 28, 2017