Match Reports

Harlequins unbeaten home run ends against Edinburgh

Thursday, 12th January 2017 @ 04:00

Harlequins scored two late tries to salvage a losing bonus point, but their unbeaten home run ended as they fell 18-23 to Edinburgh Rugby in the European Rugby Challenge Cup.

In a frustrating afternoon at The Stoop Harlequins trailed 6-13 at the break after James Chisholm was shown a yellow card for a profession foul.

In the second half it would get worse as Kyle Sinckler and Dave Ward also spent time in the sin bin and Edinburgh would extend their lead with a second try and a penalty before a late rally from the home side.

With only two minutes to play Mat Luamanu, and then Joe Gray,  would score but it was too little too late as they would have to settle with a losing bonus point as Edinburgh moved top of the Pool.

At the start of the afternoon Harlequins knew a win would all but seal them a place in the knock out stages of the Challenge Cup.

In the opening quarter John Kingston’s side led the possession and territory stats but they couldn’t convert them into tries, instead settling for a Tim Swiel penalty that cancelled out an early effort form Duncan Weir.

After holding out Harlequins it would be the visitors that would score the first try as long build play, starting in their own half, finally saw second row Fraser McKenzie go in under the posts. Edinburgh led 3-10 after Weir’s conversion.

Only three minutes later they were at it again as a counter attack got them within metres of the line before Chisholm killed the ball. The back row seeing yellow for his professional foul. While Quins would survive the ensuing line out, Weir would add three more to the scoreboard a few minutes later following another Quins infringement.

Swiel answered back with his second penalty and they headed into the break down 6-13 with a lot of work to do in the second spell to qualify for the latter stages of Europe.

In the second half some of their ambitious play began to fire but Edinburgh’s defence were up to the challenge and they would repeatedly force Quins back down field.

With 50 minutes gone a second yellow was shown to Harlequins as Sinckler retaliated against Magnus Bradbury by throwing him to the ground after the loose forward was guilty of holding him back off the ball.

Edinburgh would make them pay quickly as they started to find holes in the Harlequins midfield. Prop Allan Dell the surprising try scorer after he was the final recipient of a long range Edinburgh attack. With Weir adding the extras Harlequins were in trouble down 6-20.

Quins showed flashes of brilliance but were let down too often through ill discipline, unforced errors and turnovers at the set piece, as they could never get a foothold on the game.

With ten minutes to play Ward was shown Harlequins’ third yellow of the afternoon, for a professional foul on his own line. They repelled the initial attack  but Weir soon kicked his third penalty to take their lead out to 6-23.

With their backs well against the wall, Harlequins finally started to show glimpses of their true selves, first with a scintillating break from Marland Yarde before his forward pack would crash over twice with the clock winding down.

Firstly through Mat Luamanu who barged his way over from the back of a maul, with replacement fly half Ruaridh Jackson quickly adding the extras before full time.

Receiving the kick off and 80 minutes up on the clock Harlequins would methodically work their way down field as they eyed up a losing bonus point.  Eventually Gray would find himself with ball in hand and a clear run in on the line and he scored to close the gap to a more respectable 18—23.

With one round to go Harlequins now sit second in the Pool and hope of a home quarter final looks unlikely. With an away trip to Paris next week however they still have the chance to qualify for the knock out stages as they face Stade Francais in the final round.