Match Reports

Harlequins second best in West London derby

Friday, 26th November 2021 @ 17:45

Back into Gallagher Premiership after two weeks of Prem Cup action, Quins welcomed back international players, headlined by England prop Joe Marler as they hosted their closest rivals.

The match was off to a tough start for Quins as Irish took the lead for the first time of the day in the fourth minute via the boot of Irish international Paddy Jackson as Quins were penalised at the breakdown within their own 22.

Harlequins Academy man Oscar Beard, the standout performer for the home side on the night, was the man to steal the lead that would pass hands many times on a blustery Twickenham day, scoring his first ever Gallagher Premiership try. Ever the playmaker, talismanic scrum-half Danny Care threaded a smart kick through the Irish defence, with the bouncing ball escaping defenders for Beard to pounce for the try. Italian fly-half Tommy Allan added the conversion to take the men in the Famous Quarters ahead at 7-3.

A seesawing lead passed hands just three minutes later as a rumbling Irish maul forced its way over the line to hand Argentinian hooker Augustin Creevy his side’s first try of the day, with Jackson adding the extra conversion to take the score to 7-10.

Having struggled in the first half with inaccuracy and indiscipline, Quins were able to retake the lead after hooker Jack Walker managed to make a half break through the guts of the Irish defence before offloading to fly-half Allan, who gave the final pass to centre Luke Northmore to run in Quins’ second. Allan added the extras to allow his side a four-point lead at the break.

The scoreboard shifted again twelve minutes into the second half as the Quins defence struggled to put down Irish runners. Despite the best efforts of Quins fullback Tyrone Green to cover across, the Exiles manufactured space down the right wing to send lock Rob Simmons galloping over in the corner. Jackson missed the kick this time, affording his side a slim one-point advantage.

Irish struck again with a score for reserve scrum-half Ben White off the back of a strong maul from the visitors’ forward pack, with Harlequins paying for a high penalty count. Jackson made no mistake with the conversion this time, taking Irish to an eight-point lead with just over 20 minutes to go.

Quins came close to an immediate reply, with an Oscar Beard break down the left wing putting Quins within scoring range, but a knock on from hooker Jack Walker saw another scoring opportunity go begging.

Quins made no mistake the next time Beard got his hands on the ball, with the young winger receiving a final pass from number eight Tom Lawday to dive into the corner for his second of the day. Edwards’ conversion attempt was dragged wide by the wind, leaving Quins with a three-point deficit to claw back with just over ten minutes to play at 19-22.

Harlequins looked to complete yet another dramatic comeback in the dying minutes, as Huw Jones burst from deep inside Quins territory through the Irish defence, racing over fifty metres before being dragged down. The men in the Famous Quarters fought their way up the field, but another handling error for the day eventually resulted in Ridley’s final whistle, as London Irish were confirmed winners of this West London derby.

See Harlequins stars take to Twickenham Stadium on December 27, as both the Men's and Women's teams host playoff rivals Northampton Saints and Wasps Women, respectively, in the Gallagher Premiership and Allianz Premier 15s. Click here to book your tickets!

Big Game 13 Pete Tong

50% of mental health problems are established by age 15.

The Harlequins Foundation, the charitable arm of the club delivers the Movember programme, Ahead of the Game which aims to improve youth mental health through community organised sport and targets adolescent male mental health by engaging with the whole community around the local sports club. The Foundation invited 30 coaches from local clubs, ahead of the Quins game, to educate them around the importance of starting the conversation and giving them the confidence to do so.

Shane, from Portsmouth Rugby Club who attended said:  “We all think we know the answers, but the part that resonated the most with me was that we do not have to diagnose the issue - you are just there to recognise there might be something wrong and then signpost them to someone who can help.  You can also just be an ear, be someone to talk to and bounce off.  The workshop was great, and I will definitely be booking a session to be delivered to our young players.”