Sunday, 19th September 2021 @ 21:30
Harlequins started their title defence at a sunny Kingston Park, with a host of new signings eager to impress alongside the men determined to start well after lifting the Gallagher Premiership title last summer.
Despite the intent to start well, Quins looked likely to concede the first score of the day in the opening minutes of their 21/22 season, with hosts Newcastle sending a driving maul over the line early doors. Thankfully for the men in the Famous Quarters, the score was chalked off after a TMO review, allowing Quins the chance to strike first.
That first blow came in the 12th minute. With a scrum ten metres from Newcastle’s line after a Falcons penalty, Quins went on the attack, with an overhead pass from scrum-half Care sailing through the air to wing Louis Lynagh in the far right corner. Despite Newcastle fullback and former Harlequin Tom Penny coming within a finger of intercepting Care’s pass, Quins were off to a 7-point start once new fly-half Tommy Allan scored his first points for the Club, and his first-ever in the Premiership, with the conversion.
Quins then made their way up-field, with Allan making a silky break through the outskirts of the Falcons’ defence before deftly offloading to centre Joe Marchant to touch down for Quins’ second. Despite a ricochet off the inside of the uprights, Allan’s second conversion was good, allowing Quins a perfect start.14 points up after 20 minutes played.
Just two minutes later, Newcastle replied. Regathering their own kick-off from the restart, the home side made their way left to right across the field to see England wing Adam Radwan dive into the corner despite the attentions of two Quins defenders. Falcons fly-half Brett Connon hit the uprights with his first attempt at points for the day, leaving Quins with a nine-point lead with fifteen minutes left of the first 40.
Radwan would turn scorer to creator just five minutes later. Displaying outstanding pace and footwork, the once-capped wing sliced through the Quins defence before sending a final offload to fellow wing Iwan Stephens ten metres from the line to run in the score. Connon added his kick this time, reducing Quins’ lead to two.
Newcastle looked set to steal the lead at half-time, with a penalty against tighthead prop Logovi’I Mulipola for a pre-bind dashing out a late first-half score. A stroke of luck for Quins, with the Londoners heading into the break ahead 12-14.
Under pressure from a motivated Newcastle side in front of their home fans, Quins powered their way to a third score to extend their lead shortly after returning to the field for the second half. It was Allan again who would spot the gap in the Falcons defence. A replicant of the earlier Joe Marchant score, Lynagh was the man to benefit from Allan’s vision this time around to claim his second. A missed conversion for Allan, but Quins’ lead was extended to seven points.
Falcons threatened with intercepts and near misses throughout the day, with the home side claiming their third score of the day with just under half an hour to play after USA lock Greg Peterson picked off a Quins pass to send scrum-half Louis Schreuder over in the left corner. Connon’s missed conversion allowed Quins to retain a two-point lead.
Quins put further daylight as the fourth quarter beckoned, with centre Andre Esterhuizen making hard yards within the Newcastle 22, setting up field position for Care to snipe over the line for Quins’ fourth, bonus-point securing try. Allan added the further two points to take Quins nine points from a hungry Newcastle side with 20 minutes to go.
Quins held their lead until the final minute. However, the travelling side conceding a penalty in the dying seconds of the match. Falcons opted to kick for the sticks, with reserve Will Haydon-Wood bringing his side to within six points for a losing bonus point.
Final score: Newcastle Falcons 20 – 26 Harlequins
Next match: Harlequins vs Worcester Warriors. The Twickenham Stoop. Saturday, September 25. 15:00 kick-off.
Tries: Lynagh 12, 44, Marchant 21, Care 59,
Conversions: Allan 12, 21, 59
Tries: Radwan 23, Stephens 28, Schreuder 54
Conversions: Connon 28
Penalty: Haydon-Wood 80
Tyrone Green, Louis Lynagh, Joe Marchant, Andre Esterhuizen, Cadan Murley, Tommy Allan, Danny Care, Alex Dombrandt ©, Jack Kenningham, Tom Lawda, Dino Lamb, Matt Symons, Simon Kerrod, Jack Walker, Santiago Garcia Botta
Sam Riley, Joe Marler, Craig Trenier, Hugh Tizard, Archie White, Scott Steele, Huw Jones, Luke Northmore
Tom Penny, Adam Radwan, Ben Stevenson, Pete Lucock, Iwan Stephens, Brett Connon, Louis Schreuder, Carl Fearns, Will Welch ©, Philip van der Walt, Sean Robinson, Greg Peterson, Trevor Davidson, George McGuigan, Logovi’I Mulipola
Jamie Blamire, Kyle Cooper, Mark Tampin, Marco Fuser, Connor Collett, Cameron Nordli-Kelemeti, Will Haydon-Wood, George Wacokecoke
Big Game is back! Buy your tickets for the festive blockbuster at the Twickenham Stadium here!