Friday, 10th January 2020 @ 19:45
Harlequins were victorious on a cold night at The Rec, overseeing Bath Rugby 19-25 in the Heineken Champions Cup.
Bath opened up the night’s scoring at The Rec after the home side won the line out five metres from the try line and hooker Jack Walker carried the ball over. After Burns’ conversion, Bath held a 7-0 lead after seven minutes.
Quins showed their hunger to bounce back after a run from Luke Northmore, followed by a lovely offload to fellow centre Paul Lasike set Quins off, before an unfortunate knock on brought an end to the attack.
And it wasn’t long before Quins responded, scoring in almost identical fashion to the opposition; driving the ball over the line from the lineout for James Chisholm to touch down. Brett Herron’s conversion levelled the score to 7-7 after 12 minutes.
The visitors maintained their momentum to carry the ball through the midfield and a little show-and-go from Aaron Morris set off Luke Northmore again who lured in the Bath last man and set Gabs Ibitoye on his way to give Quins a 7-12 lead, 19 minutes in.
Just before the end of the first half, Bath levelled the score after Gabe Hamer-Webb saw the open space on the far side, having been on the end of the long pass, and dived over in the corner. Freddie Burns added the two, seeing the home side take a 14-12 advantage into the break.
Six minutes into the second half and Quins regained the lead, through the boot of Herron who slotted a penalty through the posts to make it 14-15.
Almost from nowhere Quins extended the lead after Aaron Morris, on his first start since returning from injury, saw the gap and put his head down before being grounded by the Bath defender. However, Morris was able to offload to Alex Dombrandt and the number eight saw the move through, placing the ball down under the posts and setting up Herron for the conversion to extend Quins’ lead to 14-22 after 55 minutes.
However, an instant response from Bath saw centre Jackson Willison reach over the line in the far corner after another successful lineout and driving maul from the home side. Freddie Burns’ skewed kick didn’t add the two points and Quins maintained a 19-22 lead.
A moment of brilliance for Quins, and one for all rugby fans to savour, with Dino Lamb challenging the Bath lineout and winning, resulting in an incredible counter-attack as Semi Kunatani was set on his way, making around 50 metres. Unfortunately for Quins, Bath intercepted an attempted pass from Ibitoye to bring the move to an end.
A short while after, Quins extended their lead from a penalty just inside the Bath half and Brett Herron gave Harlequins the three points and a 19-25 lead with ten minutes remaining.
Despite a courageous effort from Bath, Quins held on to claim victory in the penultimate game of their Heineken Champions Cup campaign this season.
Next up for Harlequins is round six of the Heineken Champions Cup at The Stoop, hosting ASM Clermont Auvergne on Saturday 18 January (Kick Off 15:15). Tickets are available at tickets.quins.co.uk