Match Reports

Harlequins edged by Falcons as they come away with two bonus points

Sunday, 4th December 2016 @ 17:30

Six tries from Newcastle Falcons helped Dean Richards' side to a 38-32 win over Harlequins. 

Three tries either side of the break from Falcons contributed to a high scoring, high tempo match at Kingston Park. 

Despite the loss, Harlequins came away with two bonus points thanks to a last minute try from former Falcon Tim Visser and the conversion of Ruaridh Jackson.

With the two sides coming off the back of wins in the previous round of the Aviva Premiership, Falcons and Harlequins both looked to keep up their respective momentum with a victory.

It was the visitors that struck first, following an impressive outing against Bath at The Stoop last Sunday, Tim Swiel sent over the penalty after a strong Luke Wallace drive which forced the infringement.

Harlequins enjoyed a lot of possession in the opening exchanges with both Jack Clifford and Joe Marchant impressing with ball in hand.

The home side were the first to dot down at a cold Kingston Park. Alex Tait broke through the midfield before offloading to Michael Young who cleverly beat the last defender and dashed over under the posts.

It was game-on however when Rob Buchanan crashed over on the wing shortly after. Harlequins went through the phases in Falcons' 22, waited patiently before offloading to Buchanan who was on the right wing when going over the whitewash. Swiel missed the kick but his side had the slenderest of leads.

Ally Hogg went close to moving his team back in front but his opposite number Clifford stopped him from a certain try with a last-ditch tackle.

The Falcons pressure paid off however when Juan Pablo Socino got Newcastle back into the lead. The Argentine picked from the bottom of the ruck, darted through the gap and went over easily. With Joel Hodgson maintaing a 100 per cent kicking record the scoreboard read 14-8.

Within minutes Newcastle further stretched their lead as Mark Wilson went over from close range after Falcons went through the phases metres out from Harlequins' line.

At the break the visitors had a 13 point deficit to overturn; down at 21-8.

Just three minutes into the second half and Newcastle wrapped up the bonus point when Socino went over again. Falcons kept the ball alive with a succession of offloads before the centre went over unmarked.

Visser saw more of the ball in the second half and his good work with Jamie Roberts in the midfield kept Harlequins' attack looking dangerous.

After a string of possession, Harlequins finally got their second try of the match, through Karl Dickson. Similar to the first try, Harlequins waited patiently after going through the phases which allowed for Dickson to get over from close range.

The comeback that looked unlikely at the break became more of a reality when Visser broke through the Falcons defence before offloading inside to Dickson who again went over the line. With replacement Jackson scoring the conversion, Harlequins were just four points short at 26-22.

The momentum in the match shifted again when Falcons camped in Harlequins' 22 before scoring their fifth try of the match. After working good possession metres out from Harlequins' tryline, the ball eventually went wide to second row Evan Olmstead who dotted down under the tackle of Charlie Walker. Hodgson however, missed the kick.

After a flurry of second half replacements, it would be a historic one for Dave Ward who came on for Buchanan to make his 100th appearance in a Harlequins shirt. Buchanan himself is just one appearance short of a century.

In the final ten minutes, Jackson again came out on top when his penalty brought Harlequins to within six points.

With Harlequins looking to work a try to get the win, the wind was taken out of their sails when Marcus Watson latched onto a stabbed through kick to dot down in the corner. With the conversion scored the scoreboard read 38-25 with three minutes left.

Despite the loss, Harlequins did come away with two bonus points thanks to a Visser try and Jackson conversion in the dying seconds of the match.

With the 38-32 loss in the books attention turns to Europe when Harlequins travel to Romania to take on Timisoara Saracens on Saturday.