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Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 17-38 Harlequins

Match Reaction: Newcastle Falcons 17-38 Harlequins

Mike Brown had a day to remember as Harlequins belied their recent struggles on the road with a comprehensive bonus point victory at Newcastle Falcons.

On the day full-back Brown became Quins’ all-time record appearance maker, the London club had a bonus point wrapped up by half time.

Max Crumpton, Nathan Earle, Gabriel Ibitoye and Jack Clifford all dotted down before Alex Dombrandt added a fifth not long into the second period.

Vereniki Goneva and Callum Chick bagged late consolations for the Falcons who remain rooted to the foot of the standings.

Paul Gustard’s side have now won two away games in Gallagher Premiership Rugby this season, more than they managed in the entirety of the last campaign and are now third in the table.

MAN OF THE MATCH

Tempted to go for Marcus Smith here who pulled the strings impressively and was flawless from the kicking tee.

While Alex Dombrandt continued to make the step-up to Gallagher Premiership Rugby look far easier than it really is.

But on a day like this we have to pay tribute to full-back Brown who made his 308th appearance for his club side, surpassing the all-time record set by Grahame Murray in 1973.

MOMENT OF THE MATCH

The crucial score was probably the second one, coming at the midway point of the first half.

Falcons were on top and creating real pressure in the Quins 22 before Josh Matavesi’s try was picked off by Nathan Earle and he cantered the length of the pitch to dot down under the posts and open up a 14-3 lead that Quins never looked like relinquishing.

TRY OF THE MATCH

Jack Clifford’s fourth try owed much to some fine interplay between Joe Marchant, Marcus Smith and Gabriel Ibitoye.

But the best try was undoubtedly their third, Brown’s clever kick down the left regathered by Marchant and when the ball was spread back to the right, Ibitoye had too much pace and power for the scrambling defence and picked his way through for an end-to-end score.

WHAT THEY SAID

Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards:

“In recent games, we have been creating chances and just not taking them, but today the boys just did not turn up.

“We gifted them the first three tries and we were chasing the game after that. It could have been different had the boys been switched on.

“We talked about it at half-time and then we went out there and conceded another try in the first few minutes.

“We made a little bit of a comeback then but it was too late – what happened in the first 15-20 minutes was the key to the game.”

Harlequins head of rugby Paul Gustard:

“It may seem that the game was over after that first 40 minutes, but I would never discredit a team by saying that.

“The game was won in the first half initially because of our discipline and our defence.

“Our second try came from our defensive pressure and an intercept and then we kept them out and to keep a team of calibre down to three points in the first half is an achievement.

“They are a very dangerous team with a powerful back three, but we also started the second half pretty well which was pleasing.”

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