Saturday, 17th December 2016 @ 18:15
A hattrick to Jamie Roberts, and braces to Mike Brown and Marland Yarde, saw Harlequins beat a 14-man Timisoara Saracens 75-3 to record their biggest ever winning margin in Europe.
A red card to Randall Morrison in just the second minute of the match saw the Romanians immediately on the back foot Harlequins ran in five first half tries to take a 35-0 lead into the break.
In the second half the home side would continue where they left scoring a further six tries on route to a 75-3 in round four of the European Rugby Challenge Cup.
Harlequins had arrived at The Stoop following their 3-42 away win over the same opposition last week. After Stade Francais’ win over Edinburgh on Thursday night, Harlequins knew a win today would send them top of a competitive Pool 5 with two rounds to go.
In the second minute of the match Jamie Roberts put Marland Yarde through a hole and the winger was only stopped from scoring after a dangerous tackle by Morrison. Referee Thomas Charabas showing a red card to the flanker to reduce the visitors to 14 men.
TImisoara would hold on and clear their lines but five minutes later Luke Wallace would open the scoring for the Londoners. The score was quickly doubled as some fancy footwork from Tim Visser saw him cross in the 16th minute to give Harlequins a 14-0 lead.
Harlequins were playing with confidence as the home crowd roared them on. With a quarter of the match gone Roberts would cross for the first of three on the afternoon.
Handling errors would cost the visitors as Harlequins again worked their way down field. Following a five metre line out Danny Care found Roberts for his second – as he ran a quality line from close range.
Before the half was complete the crowd would rise again. First from a Kyle Sinckler dash up the side line before Brown crossed minutes later for the fifth try of the first half.
Ruaridh Jackson was perfect from the tee (having kicked 13 straight, dating back to the match against Newcastle Falcons) and Harlequins took a 35-0 lead into the break.
In the second half Yarde would continue the try fest as he crossed within the first two minutes. Tim Swiel, on for Jackson, kicked the extras to take the score to 42-0.
After 55 minutes the forward pack would again get in on the action as Swiel kicked a penalty into the corner to set up a line out. After a textbook driving maul Jack Clifford found himself across the whitewash for Quins’s seventh of the afternoon.
Just before the hour mark Timisoara would get on the scoreboard with a penalty after Harlequins were caught offside. The successful kick was met with a roar of approval from The Stoop faithful who applauded Timisoara’s continued grit.
Over the next ten minutes Roberts would complete his hattrick, and Yarde and Brown each pick up their braces respectively, all long range efforts that showcased Harlequins’ attacking best, albeit with a one man advantage.
In the final minutes of the match there was a second red card as replacement back row Mat Luamanu was sent off for a dangerous tackle. Harlequins would still finish the match on a high though as Tim Swiel completed the rout with a solo effort as time expired.
The final score 75-3 in Harlequins’ favour as they recorded their biggest European win in history and moved to first place in their group.
They now return to Aviva Premiership as they prepare to face Gloucester Rugby in Big Game 9 at Twickenham Stadium on Tuesday 27th December.
Big Game 9 is a repeat of last year's 39-39 ten try epic that played out at Twickenham Stadium in Big Game 8 between the two sides.
Tickets for one of the biggest sporting events over the festive period are still available and can be purchased by clicking here or by calling 020 8410 6000.