Match Reports

Harlequins fall to ninth place following Exeter defeat

Saturday, 21st February 2015 @ 18:30

Harlequins slipped further away from the top four play-off places in the Aviva Premiership following a frustrating defeat at the hands of Exeter Chiefs.

The Chiefs fly-half Henry Slade inspired the visitors to their first Premiership away win since November with a personal haul of 27; one try, two conversions and six penalties.

Harlequins had taken an early 8-0 lead thanks to a Nick Evans try and penalty, while Matt Hopper crossed in the second half, adding to two further Evans penalties and a conversion.

The hosts had started the brightest and on three occasions Harlequins had worked into promising try scoring positions, but failed to convert.

The first resulted in Ian Whitten being sent to the sin bin for a deliberate knock-on and with this one man advantage, Evans lost a foot race to the line after charging an Exeter clearing kick down, before Marland Yarde was bundled into touch on the right hand corner.

Phil Dollman, who did not use his arms in the try saving tackle on Yarde, was sent to the sin bin and Chiefs found themselves down to 13 men.

The two man advantage eventually took its toll and with Evans in space with an overlap on the left, Ugo Monye provided the try scoring pass.

From the restart on 18 minutes, Chiefs returned to 14 men and got their first points on the board when Matt Hopper held on in the tackle.

Things then took a turn for the worse as Harlequins once again conceded a try from a charge down, this time Danny Care the victim. The scrum-half’s tactical kicking had been flawless until this point, but the reaching arms of Ben White allowed him to dot the ball over the line after the interference.

Despite being down to 14 still, Slade’s conversion put Chiefs into the lead.

Evans sandwiched a penalty between two Slade penalties before half time, giving the visitors a 11-16 half time lead.

Starting the second half brightly, Harlequins wasted a three on one. Evans stormed up field following a neat chip and chase.

Chiefs turned over possession, worked quickly up field and Jack Nowell crossed the line. Referee Matthew Carley initially gave the try, but after consulting the TMO, the final pass went forward.

Nowell then turned provider moments later offloading to Slade on the right wing. Chiefs had gained possession from a comedy of Harlequins errors and Slade converted his score to give them an 11-23 lead.

After Evans clawed Harlequins into touching distance of a losing bonus point, Slade added two further penalties, extending the lead to 14-29 on 60 minutes.

Ollie Lindsay-Hague was brought on in the latter stages of the second half and made some impressive breaks. After breaking into the Chiefs half, this inspired Matt Hopper to cross the line and give Harlequins some hope of a losing bonus point with the score at 21-29.

With nine minutes remaining, Slade added his final penalty of the match, giving the visitors the 21-32 win.