Harlequins made it back-to-back victories at the start of the new Guinness Premiership season thanks to a 39-15 win over Leeds Carnegie at the Twickenham Stoop. After an indifferent first half, Quins scored four second half tries to claim the maximum five points. Chris Malone was named man-of-the-match for the second week in a row and it was his try midway through the second 40 minutes that secured a bonus point.
After missing his opening kick at goal on two minutes, Malone made amends with his second penalty attempt six minutes later to put Quins three points ahead. Further pressure from the home side resulted in them winning a scrum five metres from the Leeds line two minutes before the end of the opening quarter.
With the Quins pack dominating the set-piece and pushing their opposite numbers backwards, referee Roy Maybank awarded a penalty try after deeming that Leeds deliberately pulled the scrum down. Malone made no mistake with the simple conversion from in front of the posts and followed this up with a second penalty to put Quins into a 13-point lead. Like Malone, Leeds full back Leigh Hinton missed his first penalty attempt before converting a second opportunity that came his way a minute before half-time that made the score 13-3 at the interval.
No sooner had the second half started then Quins stretched their lead by seven points. With the kick-off going out on the full, the hosts were awarded a scrum on halfway from which Tom Guest was put clear by Jordan Turner-Hall and he showed tremendous pace and skill to race-in for the touchdown. Malone added the two extra points on offer to give Quins a 17-point lead (20-3).
Just six minutes later and the hosts added to their tally once again. Jim Evans stole possesion just short of the visitors line and despite slow ball materialising, Turner-Hall shrugged off a number of defenders before racing away to score to the left of the posts. Despite Malone missing the conversion, Quins were now three-scores in front (25-3).
To their credit, Leeds responded with a spell of sustained pressure that was rewarded with their opening try shortly before the start of the final quarter, with number eight Rhys Oakley powering over from close range into the left hand corner. Centre Richard Welding converted from the touchline that cut the deficit to 15-points (25-10).
However, Quins bonus point score followed just a couple of minutes later. A sweeping move saw Mike Brown make ground into the Leeds twenty-two before Malone gathered his chip over the top of the visitors defence to dive over for the try. The Quins fly half added the extras to make the score 32-10 with 20 minutes left to play.
Replacement hooker Vili Ma'asi scored a consolation try for Leeds eight minutes from the end, but it was Quins who had the last word by scoring their fifth try of the afternoon. A perfectly weighted cross-field kick from Malone bounced kindly for Simon Keogh to race onto and touchdown in the left hand corner. Fittingly, Malone converted from wide out to complete the scoring in the match.
During week commencing 22nd April Harlequins will launch an innovative, new Membership Scheme which will replace the existing Season Ticket Holder Programme. Further details of the scheme will be announced in due course.