Quins downed by London Irish at The Stoop

Saturday, 7th April 2018 @ 18:00

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London Irish scored four tries en route to a 5-35 win over Harlequins at the Twickenham Stoop. Irish held a 0-22 lead at the break following two tries from Piet van Zyl and Max Northcote-Green before Tom Fowlie scored for Irish in the second half. Tommy Bell added 15 points from the tee for the away side.

In a match where Harlequins didn't have a lot to shout about, Jack Clifford - in his first Harlequins start since October - scored on the 51st minute for Harlequins' only contribution to the scoreboard.

Following the defeat, Harlequins Director of Rugby, John Kingston commented: "We never got going. Irish played well and we were lethargic from the start and didn't get anything going and it just got worse. We've slipped into another substandard performance and I'm first to say, it's not acceptable."

Earlier, Harlequins arrived at The Stoop following a week break due to the European quarter-finals.

In a match where Harlequins were on the wrong side of the score line, Irish could have scored as early as the third minute when Alex Lewington crossed in the corner. Referee Ian Tempest went to TMO David Grashoff who chalked off the score as James Marshall's pass went forward.

Francis Saili - on his first Quins start - looked lively early in the match when he won an early turnover, but Irish's first score was around the corner.

After a spell of pressure in the Harlequins 22, Irish decided to opt left through the backs and with numbers over the away side popped in side for scrum-half Piet van Zyl to cross.

Van Zyl's first was followed up just eight minutes later. Marshall picked out winger Lewington on the left-hand side with a handy crossfield kick to gather and gain valuable possession. On the run Lewington chipped his kick over fullback Mike Brown and the scrum-half was quickest to gather and score again. Bell scoring both conversions.

Quins looked to hit back shortly after with Danny Care in a good position from a close-range scrum but the nine spilt on the move.

Just after the half hour mark and Irish had their third. Declan Kidney's side had all the pressure in Quins' 22 and they made it tell when Max Northcote-Green got on the end of the move to get down in the corner; leaving the home side with a mountain to climb.

The Londoners looked to hit back soon after when Tim Visser, Joe Marchant and Care again linked up down the left-hand side, but Joe Cokanasiga was on hand to haul the scrum-half down.

With the half winding down, Irish moved further in front when Tommy Bell added a penalty.

The half-time break saw a number of changes for the hosts, with Joe Gray coming on for his 150th Harlequins appearance. Irish, again, were handed the opportunity to move even further in front shortly after when Stan South took the man out in the air at the line out and Bell again made Harlequins pay for their ill-discipline.

After Bell's second penalty, Harlequins enjoyed their best spell in the match and would have a try to show at the end of it. With a penalty advantage from close range Care opted to chip and Jack Clifford managed to round the defender to get a hand on the ball to score.

Care, however, was shown a yellow shortly after for not retreating from a quick penalty and Irish's bonus point try came phases later.

From a line out and maul move, van Zyl sent over a chipped kick with the advantage playing and centre Tom Fowlie got on the end of it - just - to score and open up a 27-point gap.

Irish again came back with the man advantage to ramp up the pressure and on the 69th minute took the scoreboard to 5-35 when Bell added another three points from tee.

Charlie Matthews would also see yellow before the end of the match for taking the man out in the air, and despite a late rally from Quins the match would end 5-35. 


Team line Ups

Gallagher Premiership

League Table 2017-18

22 17 0 5 618 354 79 42 13 4 85
22 16 0 6 731 350 89 40 10 3 77
22 14 1 7 615 501 79 61 10 3 71
22 14 0 8 455 506 55 60 7 0 63
22 13 0 9 537 472 61 55 5 6 63
22 11 0 11 572 531 63 68 8 4 56
22 11 1 10 490 597 65 73 8 2 56
22 10 0 12 556 531 67 60 9 5 54
22 8 0 14 509 645 64 80 5 6 43
22 7 0 15 479 640 58 78 5 3 36
22 7 0 15 432 601 54 74 5 3 36
22 3 0 19 385 651 42 85 3 7 22