Saturday, 15th February 2020 @ 17:30
Harlequins weren’t able to see off a strong London Irish performance in stormy conditions, with the visitors coming away with a 15-29 victory.
Despite well-worked tries from Cadan Murley and Alex Dombrandt, Quins couldn’t secure the home win as part of the first ever LGBTQ+ themed rugby fixture, with tries from Curtis Rona, Ollie Hoskins and Matt Rogerson giving Irish the win.
It was Quins who started the liveliest of the two sides, turning over possession on two occasions in the opening two minutes, including an Alex Dombrandt turnover in the ruck before winning an Irish lineout.
Storm Dennis had its impact in the early stages, with the ball hanging in the air and tantalising both sides with the rain also impacting the surface of the ball. However, a moment of brilliance from Aaron Morris saw the full back juggle the ball on the ground to avoid knocking on in a dangerous area.
However, it was Irish that took the lead with flanker Matt Rogerson eventually receiving the ball out wide and running it in. Stephan Myler was able to add the extras, despite the wind, with the help of Ben Meehan who spotted the wobbly ball.
Quins pulled back, through the boot of Marcus Smith, on the 14th minute who successfully slotted the penalty to narrow the score to 3-7.
With 22 minutes left of the first half, the Exiles added their second try of the game after a quick pick and go from scrum half Meehan saw him break through before giving it to Curtis Rona to touch down. Myler’s conversion took the score to 3-14.
Quins thought they had bounced back only three minutes later, with Dombrandt breaking through and linking up with Ross Chisholm to cross over, but JP Doyle reviewed the build up and deemed that an offside Quins player had obstructed the Irish defence.
Just before the break, Irish extended their lead with an extra three points after Myler struck the inside of the post to give the visitors a 3-17 advantage at the break.
With the wind on their side, Quins started the second half brightly, with Martin Landajo almost setting off Aaron Morris down the far flank, but the ball was just out of his reach on the touch down.
And it was Quins to claim the first scalp of the second half after Irish conceded a penalty for offside deep in their own half, allowing Danny Care to tap quickly and set January Gallagher Premiership Player of the Month Alex Dombrandt, on his way to drive over the line. Marcus Smith converted and Quins reduced the deficit to seven points; 10-17 with 52 minutes on the clock.
A successful kick chase from Curtis Rona following the centre’s charge down saw Irish extend their lead with under 20 minutes to go. Myler delivered the conversion and Irish held a 10-24 lead.
On the 75th minute, Quins were able to show a score for their hard work in the second half, and dominance in possession; playing the ball out wide to Cadan Murley who added the five. Unfortunately, the wind caught Smith’s kick and the score remained at 15-24.
Irish drove in the final moments in a bid to secure their bonus point victory, with Hoskins peeling off the back of the maul and Irish claiming a 15-29 victory.
Harlequins travel to The Rec next weekend in the Gallagher Premiership to take on Bath, before returning to The Stoop on Saturday 29 February (Kick off 15:00), facing Exeter. Tickets are still available at tickets.quins.co.uk