Saturday, 23rd October 2021 @ 18:15
Harlequins improved their Premiership winning streak at The Stoop to 11 after a dogged 31-17 win over Bath.
Quins kicked off the day in a manner in which fans have become accustomed over the last year, with two scores for towering Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen sending the home side into an early lead.
Attacking the visitors’ fringe defence, Esterhuizen was the man found hovering along the wing, proving too physical in the wide channels for the men from the West Country.
The giant South African’s scores in the 3rd and 15th minutes were punctuated by a penalty for Bath, with fly-half Orlando Bailey putting his side on the scoresheet after Quins were penalised for not rolling away in front of their own posts. With Quins fly-half Marcus Smith nailing his first conversion but sailing wide with his second, the Premiership champions held a 12-3 lead.
Quins’ momentum would hit a bump in the 25th minute as England and British and Lions prop Joe Marler was shown a yellow card for a no arms tackle on Bath fullback Tom de Glanville.
The visitors were not long in capitalising on their one-man advantage. Immediately kicking to the corner, the men in Blue, Black and White sent England openside Sam Underhill over for a driving maul score. Once Bailey added the conversion, Quins held a narrow 12-10 lead.
A second Bath score came six minutes later at Harlequins lost the lead for the first time of the day. Once again Bath worked their way over the whitewash through forward power while Quins were down to 14 men, with tighthead prop Will Stuart spotting an opportunity one metre out from the scoreline, picking and going off the back of an Underhill carry to score. Once Bailey added his third kick of the day, his side held a 12-17 lead at the break.
Man of the moment Smith was the man to restore his side’s lead in the 50th minute, with the Quins, England and British and Irish Lions sensation slicing through an invisible gap in the Bath defence to kick Quins back to life. The standoff converted his own score to bring Quins to a 19-17 lead with just over half an hour to play.
Despite significant pressure from the Quins attack, no score would come for the home side until the 74th minute. A determined Bath side’s defence was finally broken with just over five minutes left on the clock as Harlequins claimed the fourth and bonus-point try.
Fullback Tyrone Green was the man to find the space in the opposition defence, with the South African attacking the fringes and finding enough space to feed Dombrandt a handful of metres from the Bath line. An outrageous offload from the day’s captain to find centre Joe Marchant, on the wing after a backline reshuffle, claiming the bonus point with a diving score into the corner. Smith nailed the touchline conversion to give Quins a nine-point lead at 26-17.
A final word of the day came from some unbelievable hands from Smith and Green to send Marchant flying into the corner to complete his brace for the day as Quins extended their lead to 14 points, with Smith missing another tough touchline conversion.
Quins played out the final two minutes of play, with Dombrandt sending the ball far into the stands to allow Luke Pearce to signal full-time.
Full-time: Harlequins 31 – 17 Bath
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