Match Reports

Late Nairn double not enough as Harlequins lose out to Exeter Braves

Monday, 3rd October 2016 @ 22:00



Tries from Elvis Taione, Moray Low, Shaun Malton and a brace from Ben White helped Exeter to a bonus point A League win over Harlequins 'A.'

The Londoners had taken the lead early on thanks to a Luc Jones try but Exeter hit back to assert a dominating lead.

Replacement Robbie Nairn went over twice late on but it wasn't enough to force his side back into the match.

In the opening exchanges it was the home side that looked the brightest, especially when Exeter went down to 14. Sam Skinner collided with Aaron Morris in the air and referee Jake Makepeace deemed it worthy of ten minutes in the sin bin.

Centre Harry Sloan almost grabbed the first try of the match shortly after, but as he tried to latch onto Ruaridh Jackson's stabbed through kick Joe Simmonds got there first and the ball went dead.

The score remained at a deadlock up until the 15th minute when Jackson sent over a penalty, following an Exeter infringement at the breakdown, to give Harlequins a 3-0 lead.

Once back to 15 men, the visitors hit back with a score of their own. From a line out five metres out a rolling maul was formed and Taione scrambled over the line. Will Hooley went on to slot a difficult conversion.

Harlequins would then hit back with a well worked effort on the counter to retake the lead. Jackson stabbed through a loose pass which allowed Ross Chisholm to give chase well inside the visitors' half.

With brute force Sloan forced a turnover and as the ball came to Charlie Walker the winger sent a cross field kick high into the air. Winston Stanley was there to collect and offload inside to Stan South who then popped it to Jones who went over the whitewash. Jackson missed the conversion but Harlequins had a slender 8-7 lead.

That lead wouldn't last long however as Exeter set up camp metres out from Harlequins' try line. Following several pick and goes, Exeter eventaully went over through White. Hooley again would add the conversion.

With the half winding down and no obvious option on for the away side, Hooley kept the scoreboard ticking over by sending a drop-goal through from just inside the Harlequins 22 to make the score 17-8.

Just when nine points seemed to be the difference going into the break, Harlequins would give away possession metres out from their own tryline. Exeter turned over the line out and swarmed towards the post, after mounting the pressure at the breakdown, prop Low went over under the sticks leaving Hooley with an easy conversion attempt. Hooley continued his fine evening's work and gave Exeter a 24-8 lead at the break. 

(03-10-16) Harlequins A vs Exeter Braves (Premiership A League) Match Report 20161003215908
Into the second 40 and a string of early penalties gave Exeter a lot of possession. As they moved into Harlequins' 22 another penalty would hand Braves a line out five metres short of the tryline. Luckily for the home side, Exeter knocked-on and allowed Harlequins to clear their lines.

Exeter would come again and play through phases after phase of attack in Harlequins' 22. From another line out metres out, Braves would set the rolling maul and White went over for his second. Hooley this time missed the conversion.

Braves then moved further in front again from the rolling maul. Identical to the previous try, Exeter scrambled over thanks to replacement Malton. Hooley made up for his previous miss as he sent the conversion over to make the score a resounding 36-8.

Despite looking out of the contest, Harlequins worked the ball wide just inside their own half and with a burst of speed South offloaded to Nairn who excellently cruised to the tryline to reduce the deficit. Replacement James Lang sent over the conversion with just over ten minutes to go.

Nairn would score again shortly after but it was Morris who did the hard work. The fullback chipped and chased to break the line, dashed 40 metres and with the last man chasing offloaded to Nairn who went over with ease under the sticks. Exeter would have the last say on the matter as Simmonds sent over a penalty in the last minute to make the score 39-22.