Friday, 29th December 2017 @ 00:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 15:00
Kick off 13:30
Kick off 15:00
Celebrating a decade of Big Game at Twickenham Stadium, an impressive Harlequins scored seven tries en route to a 50-21 demolition of Northampton Saints.
In the first half captain Dave Ward, wings Charlie Walker and Tim Visser, and scrum-half Danny Care all crossed the whitewash for Quins as they sealed a first half bonus point, and a 31-0 lead.
Northampton were more competitive in the second spell, picking up three tries of their own, but Tim Visser and Danny Care both completed their braces before Mat Luamanu put the icing on the cake as Harlequins ran out 51-20 winners on Big Game’s 10th birthday.
It capped off an incredible day at the big Stoop as 77,825 supporters packed into the home of English rugby and were greeted by a scintillating performance from their quartered men in what has become rugby’s biggest annual fixture.
Earlier, the Londoners walked across the A316 in desperate need of an Aviva Premiership win as they looked to avenge their loss against Saints back at Big Game 7.
They were greeted by a pyrotechnic display as captain Dave Ward led his side out but Saints sparked first from the kick-off before Quins forced a mistake to clear.
A breathless opening ten minutes saw both sides go close before some front row magic gave the hosts the lead. Kyle Sinckler, with the softest of hands, set up his low numbered colleague Dave Ward and the captain had the pace (and footwork) to go in from 25 metres out.
Two minutes later and it was Mat Luamanu’s offload that saw Visser go close, but he was edged into touch just inches out from the line as Marcus Smith settled for a penalty and a 10-0 lead.
With their tails up Quins began to light up the pitch as their offloads continued to stick and they greeted Saints’ abysmal defence with wave after wave of attack. Jamie Roberts first set up Charlie Walker with a quarter of the match played, before Smith found winger Visser to get the try he had previously deserved.
Suddenly the score line had ballooned out to 24-0 with as many minutes played and the 77,000 in attendance were on their feet, as was Director of Rugby John Kingston who was ecstatic with his side’s performance.
Before the half was up Quins had their bonus point when Danny Care darted over from close range, right past his England captain Dylan Hartley, as Eddie Jones looked on. With Smith’s conversion, Harlequins led 31-0 – a lead they took into the break.
Straight out of the sheds in the second spell and Mike Brown carved out a nice break as he went close to putting the impressive Roberts in for a try.
While the Saints defence held firm on that occasion it was breached only three minutes later when Smith’s long, looping pass put Visser in for his brace.
As Northampton finally got themselves back into the encounter with a spell of possession James Chisholm saw a yellow card after a cynical intercept attempt on his goal line. With a man in the bin, Saints pulled back two quick tries to Rob Horne and Nick Groom. Before the ten minutes was up, however, Harlequins had a sixth.
This time it was Danny Care who was on hand to complete his brace after Smith had driven his side down field with a series of astonishing plays. The fly-half then kicked his sixth goal of the afternoon to take the score to 43-14.
The magnificent seventh came through Mat Luamanu's pick and go as Harlequins notched up 50 with ten minutes still to play. By far the most tries and points the side had scored in the ten years of this fixture.
With the match wrapped up Mike Haywood picked a consolation score for Northampton but it was far too little too late as Quins won 50-21 in a match that will live long in the memory of the Harlequins faithful.
On an entertaining day filled with bands, fireworks and fun for the whole family, it was the rugby that had the final say and Harlequins got back on track in the league with a scintillating performance against the side who started the weekend directly behind them in the table.
Dave Ward was named Man of the Match but a number of Quins could also have received the honour. All in all a fabulous team effort that ends the year on a high as Quins continue to hunt for playoff rugby come season’s end.