Quins downed by the Irish Exiles. 8th April 2018


7th APRIL 2018

                 HARLEQUINS    5        LONDON  IRISH   35

                   Aviva Premiership    Saturday 7th April 2018

                        Attendance:  12,053

                             Peter Moore at The Stoop

A brace from Piet Van Zyl, and tries from Max Northcote-Green and Tom Fowlie, along with 15 points from the tee by Tommy Bell, secured a comfortable victory for the exiles against a lacklustre Quins side at the Stoop on Saturday.

Harlequins made eight changes to the side that suffered defeat at the hands of Saracens. Among the changes, Charlie Walker returned to the side for the first time since February. Quins also welcomed back Jack Clifford for his first start since October. There was also a first start in a Quins shirt for Centre Francis Sali.

It was a very encouraging start for the visitors, straight from the kick off they worked the ball upfield and thought they had scored the first try of the afternoon when Alex Lewington went over in the corner, only to find the try ruled out for a forward pass. Irish were successful in the 14th minute when a pass from Tom Fowlie into the hands of Piet Van Zyl who crossed. The conversion was successful as the visitors took an early lead.

Irish doubled their advantage when a Crossfield kick and a chip and chase saw the ball pop up nicely for Van Zyl to score his second try of the afternoon. By the 30th minute Irish had bagged their third try of the afternoon when Max Northcote-Green stretched over in the corner. The conversion was missed, but there was still time for Irish to add further points when Bell added a penalty kick right on the stroke of half time to end a miserable 40 minutes for Quins.

Irish were back on the front foot early after the restart when Quins were penalised for taking the man down from a line out and Bell slotted over the penalty. It took 58 minutes until Harlequins registered their first points of the game when Danny Care’s cross field kick saw Cliffford just get a hand on the ball. After consultation with the TMO, the try was awarded. Marcus Smith missed the conversion to still leave Quins a huge mountain to climb. That mountain got even greater when Irish scored their fourth try of the afternoon with Tom Fowlie getting the try bonus point, following a line out a Crossfield kick saw Fowlie get the final touch. The try was eventually awarded after the TMO’s verdict, putting the Exiles in pole position to do the double over Quins. With ten minutes remaining Quins were penalised with Bell slotting over to stretch the gap to 26 points. Quins afternoon worsened when Charlie Matthews received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Despite playing the last ten minutes with 14 men, Irish failed to add to their total. It mattered not as Irish fully deserved only their third Aviva Premiership victory this season.

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