Match Reports

Harlequins out of Anglo-Welsh Cup after loss to Exeter

Sunday, 12th March 2017 @ 18:00

Harlequins fell 24-7 away to Exeter Chiefs, who progress to next week’s Anglo-Welsh Cup final at The Stoop (Sunday 19th March, kick off 15:00).

Two early tries to Lachie Turner and Max Bodilly saw the home side jump to a 14-0 lead as Harlequins struggled to play in the right areas of the pitch.

While Quins were brighter in the second spell they couldn’t make it count until it was too late. A further two tries gave Exeter a commanding lead before a consolation try in the final minute got Quins onto the scoreboard, as they lost 24-7.

Exeter now head to the Twickenham Stoop in seven days' time to take on Leicester Tigers in the Anglo-Welsh Cup final. Tickets for the match can be purchased here.

John Kingston's side had won three of their last four matches on the road - all with bonus points, while they also had beaten Exeter Chiefs in the opening round of the Anglo-Welsh Cup in November.

Exeter however arrived on a six match unbeaten streak and hadn't lost in a domestic competition since the Round 1 defeat, at The Stoop, last year.

The Londoners started the brighter and thought they had struck first after a Charlie Matthews intercept set up Charlie Walker to go over untouched. After consulting with the TMO however Referee Dan Jones called it back for an earlier knock on.

Chiefs made Harlequins pay minutes later as Turner opened the scoring after ghosting through the defence from 40 metres out. The TMO was called upon once again but it was ruled no obstruction and they lead 7-0.

In the 15th minute the score was doubled, wing Bodilly also carving through from long range to give his side a 14-0 lead.

It went from bad to worse for Harlequins as flanker George Naupou was replaced by academy second row Stan South after picking up an injury. Naupou adding to the list of 19 injuries within the squad, as well as the two who failed late fitness test pre match.

For the remainder of the half Harlequins found themselves under constant pressure but their defence held on. At one stage surviving five consecutive scrums before wining a penalty off the sixth to clear.  They were tested time and time again but they hung on and went in the break down 14-0.

Quins came out in the second half on the attack, finally getting their offloads to stick, and they worked their way into opposition territory on a few occasions but couldn’t make it count on the scoreboard.

Not to be perturbed Chiefs marched their way down field and hammered away at the Quins line. While the defence held on on a number of occasions it was eventually worn down and captain Julian Salvi crashed over to take the lead to 19-0.

Kingston cleared his bench but they couldn’t make the impact he desired as the match slipped away from Harlequins.

The possession stats were well in favour of the home side and while Quins continued to put in some crunching tackles right to the final whistle, Exeter eventually crossed for their fourth try of the afternoon.  Sam Simmonds banging over from close range minutes after Turner was denied his brace for a knock on.

With the heads still held high Harlequins looked to close out their Anglo-Welsh campaign with a consolation try and in the 79th minute they finally got on the scoreboard. A lively Walker break set up replacement Calum Waters to score under the posts. A try on debut for the Academy scrum half.

It was too little too late as Chiefs won 24-7 to set up a final at The Stoop next Sunday 19th March against Leicester Tigers. Tickets are on sale now here.

Harlequins will have a week off before returning to the Aviva Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons. The league now their sole focus as they look to qualify for European Champions Cup rugby at a minimum.

While they sit in 7th place on the table they are as close to fourth as they are to eighth in what looks set to be a tight run in for a number of teams.