Saturday, 20th December 2014 @ 18:00
Tim Swiel kicked Harlequins to an important and much needed Aviva Premiership victory over Newcastle Falcons in Round 10 of the Aviva Premiership.
The 21 year-old fly-half, making his Premiership starting debut, amassed 15 points in a nervy and tense team display which became more expansive in the final 20 minutes.
This result sees Harlequins climb into seventh place of the premiership ahead of welcoming Northampton Saints next week at Twickenham Stadium for Big Game 7.
Harlequins, who came up against an experienced Falcons side buoyed by some favourable domestic results, were without household names of Joe Marler, Nick Evans, Chris Robshaw, Luke Wallace and Nick Easter, while Danny Care and Ugo Monye were named among the replacements.
The young back row of Jack Clifford, Joe Trayfoot and James Chisholm provided a solid platform for attack and were disruptive in defence.
It was the Falcons who made the opening threat with winger Sinoti Sinoti bursting through the midfield; recycling possession quickly it was the last ditched defensive efforts of Matt Hopper to prevent Alex Tuilagi scoring in the left corner.
After fending this attack, Harlequins worked up field and Swiel kicked the opening points of the match.
The hosts were threatening for the remainder of the opening quarter; Karl Dickson’s grubber kick in midfield was too far for Marland Yarde to gather, while other attacks frustratingly broke down through handling and discipline errors.
The remainder of the half was quite a stop start affair, both sides had promising passages of play, but frustratingly couldn’t hold on to possession. The Falcons suffered two injury blows with Simon Hammersley and Dom Barrow were replaced.
Jaun Pablo Socino missed a penalty on 26 minutes, but after Mike Blair ripped through a lineout, this inspired a momentum shift in favour of the Falcons late in the first half.
The scrum-half was key in putting Alex Tuilagi in to space initially, before the Samoan winger barged his way over the line just minutes later. Socino converted, giving the Falcons a 3-7 half time lead and concluding a difficult opening 40 minutes for the hosts.
The second half started slowly, again with both sides lacking consistency in attack; Matt Hopper’s break in midfield forced a penalty and Swiel converted to bring the score to within a point.
Both Danny Care and Ugo Monye were brought on with 20 minutes remaining which inspired a huge shift in momentum and attacking threat. This allowed Swiel to convert three further penalties in the space of seven minutes to take the 15-7 lead.
At this point, Harlequins were in full control of the match and will be disappointed not to have pulled further ahead and rewarded for their valiant effort, while denying their visitors a losing bonus point.