Saturday, 17th September 2016 @ 15:00
A late Harlequins fight back was not enough as Harlequins fell to consecutive defeats after losing 36-25 to Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park.
Exeter picked up the try bonus point in the first half as braces to Lachlan Turner and Luke Cowan-Dickie gave them a commanding 29-13 lead.
In the second spell Man of the Match Cowan-Dickie would complete is hattrick as the home side dominated the match.
With 20 minutes to play, Harlequins would finally start to click as tries to Danny Care and Charlie Walker got them within a score of both bonus points but it was not enough as Exeter closed out the game 36-25.
Earlier, the sun was shining at Sandy Park as Harlequins had arrived looking to bounce back from last weekend’s 19-10 loss to Sale Sharks.
Exeter Chiefs completed the double over Harlequins last year including a rampant 24-62 win in the final round of the season and in the first half of this encounter a similar scoreline looked possible.
In the seventh minute fullback Turner crossed for the home side before back-to-back Swiel penalties moved the Londoners in front.
The lead was short lived as Cowan-Dickie drove over from the back of Exeter’s dominant maul, before Turner scored his second to give Exeter an early 19-6 lead.
Harlequins hooker Rob Buchanan pulled one back, before Cowan-Dickie would again benefit from the Chiefs forward pack’s hard work, scoring his second try of the afternoon.
Just before the half time whistle Gareth Steenson would extend the lead further with a penalty that put Exeter ahead 29-13 at the break.
Only five minutes into the second spell Cowan–Dickie would score his third, and his side’s fifth, taking the score to 36-13.
Harlequins struggled to make any metres and Chiefs always threatened with ball in hand, until in the final quarter the visitors would rip the momentum from their opposition as they set about achieving a stunning fight back.
A powerful run from replacement James Chisholm set up a Mike Brown break through the middle of the park, with his captain Care on hand to score under the posts. Swiel adding the extras with a quick drop-kicked conversion.
With their tails up, Walker would soon cross after the entire side began to put together great phase play. Tomas Francis was also shown a red card for lashing out with his boot in the buildup.
With just eight minutes to go, and the scoreboard showing Exeter ahead 36-25, it set up a frantic finish to the encounter as Harlequins chased both the try and losing bonus points.
It was not to be however as Exeter’s defence held on allowing them to notch their first win of the season, moving them ahead of Quins on the table.
While it was a second consecutive loss for Quins, the late surge showed spirit and fight from the side as they now face a tricky run of fixtures, starting with Saracens at The Stoop next Saturday 24th September.