Saturday, 25th September 2021 @ 19:45
This weekend’s Round Two Premiership clash marked a special occasion on two counts. Firstly, Club enjoyed the return of full capacity Twickenham Stoop, with supporters in full voice, watching on as their side ran home a bonus-point victory in classic Quins fashion.
The second came in the shape of a first for the league, with Sara Cox becoming the inaugural female referee to run the rule over a Premiership match.
At the final whistle, number eight and captain for the day Alex Dombrandt noted that waking up the morning of the match came with a special buzz. The cause? The excitement of playing in front of almost 15,000 in South West London.
While Quins did not manage to start the fixture perfectly, with Worcester claiming two kickable penalties within the first ten minutes and fly-half Owen Williams slotting one for a three-point lead on the road.
Quins were not behind their guests for long, with the men in the Famous Quarters claiming the first try of the day in the 17th minute.
After a period of high tempers with either side guilty of grappling off the ball, scrum-half Danny Care took a quick tap penalty while camped five metres from the Warriors’ line. Care spread the ball to Springbok centre Andre Esterhuizen, with the midfielder sending out a long pass wide to right wing Louis Lynagh who displayed impressive physicality to step and muscle his way through the challenge of three defenders before dotting down in the corner. After a TMO review confirmed Lynagh’s grounding, fly-half Tommy Allan added the extras to give Quins a 7-3 lead.
A battling Worcester defence held Quins out for a period, but the men in the Famous Quarters eventually applied enough pressure to claim their second with half an hour played. Dombrandt would be the man to benefit from an all-dominant scrum, once again five metres out from the Worcester line. With the tight five pushing the Worcester pack into their own dead ball area, the back row dotted down for his first of the season. Allan again added the extras to bring Quins to an eleven-point lead.
Worcester were struck a further blow five minutes from the half-time break, with wing Noah Heward shown a yellow card by Cox for tackling Quins fullback Tyrone Green in the air.
With the clock in the red and no man to defend their right wing, Worcester conceded a third first-half score. Green scrambled for a loose ball on the floor from a wayward Quins pass, with the South African quickly firing possession wide to Murley to race into the corner with defenders advancing. A special touch on the winger’s 50th appearance for the Club. A tough touchline conversion for Allan was inch-perfect, with the Italian international bringing Quins to a 21-3 lead at the break.
After the half-time break, Worcester were the men to strike first, with England centre Ollie Lawrence running a smart support line to slice through the fringes of Quins’ defence. Williams’ first conversion attempt for the day was successful, reducing Quins’ lead to 11.
Quins restored their lead while claiming the bonus-point securing score in the 53rd minute. England international Joe Marchant – starting in the centres but finding himself on the wing as Impact Player Luke Northmore came onto the field in place of Murley – was the next man to benefit from a sharp tap penalty from Care. The talismanic halfback displayed quick thinking from a scrum penalty in front of the Warriors’ posts, with possession shipped wide to Marchant. Another superb conversion attempt from Allan from the touchline was successful, with Quins leading by 18 points with 25 minutes to play.
Quins were not permitted to roar home with a procession. A clever chip over the head of the Quins defence from Worcester’s fly-half allowed his halfback partner Willi Heinz to beat Marchant in a foot race for a bobbling ball to score.
Worcester doubled up scores for their scrum-halves in rapid succession. Minutes after substitute try-scorer Heinz, Worcester replacement Will Chudley was the man to benefit from a Worcester attack that again pierced the outskirts of Quins’ defence, eventually seeing the ball shifted in-field for Chudley to cross for the away side’s third try of the day. With Williams adding the extras for both scores, Quins’ lead was reduced to just four points. With 13 minutes left on the clock, Quins were in danger of allowing a strong lead to slip away.
It would be another man making his 50th appearance for the Club that would put the home side out of sight of the Warriors, with second row Dino Lamb claiming a crucial try with a pick and go from short range for Quins’ fifth try of the day.
A score that would prove crucial as Worcester claimed their fourth try of the day in the 80th minute through former Harlequin Marc Thomas. With no conversion from Worcester, Quins were able to hold out a 35-29 score for a five-point win, with the visitors returning to the Midlands with two losing bonus points.
Final score: Harlequins 35 – 29 Worcester Warriors
Next match: Harlequins vs Bristol Bears. Friday, October 8. Kick-off 19:45. The Twickenham Stoop.
Tries: Lynagh 17, Dombrandt 30, Murley 40, Marchant 54, Lamb 74
Conversions: Allan 17, 30, 40, 54, 74
Tries: Lawrence 43, Heinz 58, Chudley 63, Thomas 80
Conversions: Williams 43, 58, 63
Penalty: Williams 3
Tyrone Green, Louis Lynagh, Joe Marchant, Andre Esterhuizen, Cadan Murley, Tommy Allan, Danny Care, Alex Dombrandt ©, Jack Kenningham, Tom Lawday, Dino Lamb, Matt Symons, Simon Kerrod, Jack Walker, Joe Marler
Sam Riley, Fin Baxter, Will Collier, Hugh Tizard, James Chisholm, Scott Steele, Huw Jones, Luke Northmore
Jamie Shillcock, Noah Heward, Ollie Lawrence, Francois Venter, Perry Humphreys, Owen Williams, Willi Heinz, Matt Kvesic, Sam Lewis, Ted Hill, Justin Clegg, Kyle Hatherell, Christian Judge, Scott Baldwin, Ethan Waller
Niall Annett, Marc Thomas, Jack Owlett, Matt Garvey, Graham Kitchener, Will Chudley, Billy Searle, Melani Nani