Saturday, 28th January 2017 @ 17:30
A second half fight back from Harlequins saw them record a 22-28 bonus point win over Worcester Warriors and book a place in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals.
Two early tries saw Worcester rewarded with a deserved 14-0 lead, before Charlie Walker struck back for the visitors.
In the second half Worcester extended their lead further before a Charlie Matthews try, and a brace to Alofa Alofa, saw Harlequins pick up the bonus point win in an impressive fight back.
With their Pool 3 rivals all succumbing to defeat, Harlequins now sit seven points clear at the top of their group heading into the final round of fixtures, guaranteeing themselves a place in the Anglo-Welsh Cup semi-finals.
Earlier, Harlequins arrived at Sixways Stadium following consecutive defeats that saw them knocked out of Europe. They had also fallen earlier in the month to Worcester in the Aviva Premiership, who got off to a hot start once again in front of their home crowd.
Early tries to Wynand Olivier and Bryce Heem saw them jump out to a quick 14-0 lead with only ten minutes gone. The lead could have been larger as well as they put the Londoners under constant pressure out on the wings.
Harlequins struck back in the 25th minute through wing Walker who ran a textbook line through the defence and his pace was too much, cutting the deficit in half.
Mistakes would cost both sides as neither of them would trouble the score for the remainder of the half meaning Worcester headed into the break with a 14-7 lead, and one their home support felt should have been bigger after they dominating for large spells.
Worcester came out of the break where they left and piled the pressure onto Harlequins. In the 45th minute hooker Joe Taufete'e was rewarded as he powered over from the back of the maul to give his side a 19-7 advantage.
While 12 points down, Quins kept their heads high and their rugged forward pack fought their way back into the match. Their hard work culminated with a intercept try to second row Matthews who galloped 50 metres down field untouched to score under the posts. His second try of the tournament and the spark his side desperately needed.
Just three minutes later John Kingston’s side would score their third try, again from long distance. The magic feet of Alofa danced along the sideline to complete a scintillating move. With Ruaridh Jackson kicking his third conversion Harlequins suddenly led 19-21.
There would be more drama to follow from both sides. First Worcester crossed the line to re-take the lead, only for it to be ruled out for double movement. While Quins cleared, Worcester would get the lead they were after with a penalty goal minutes later to make the score 22-21.
Down the other end of the field a chip and chase from the impressive James Chisholm saw Quins go within inches of scoring, before the ball was knocked on and Worcester were able to clear.
With ten minute to play, and still only one point separating the sides another long range attack on the left wing forced Worcester to scramble and kick the ball dead. The resulting lineout though would set up the match-winning try for Harlequins.
Joe Gray hit his target and the ball was quickly fed to the backs, while the move broke down Alofa was on hand to collect the loose ball and go over for his brace. Jackson added the extras and Quins once again led, 22-28.
In the resulting kick off, Darren Barry was shown a yellow card for a dangerous tackle on Stan South, and Jackson would miss a penalty minutes later, but it wouldn’t matter as Quins held on for the win.
With Wasps, Bristol and Cardiff all losing, the victory was enough to see Harlequins guarantee top spot in their Pool ahead of their round four fixture next week at home to Sale Sharks.
Harlequins are a perfect three from three in the Anglo-Welsh Cup and importantly have started to right their away form. While far from perfect, they have now won three of their last seven away matches as they face a crucial set of fixtures in February, which sees them play consecutive weeks on the road in the Premiership.