Harlequins hold off a spirited Falcons comeback to win 46-25 at The Stoop
Tries from Tim Visser, Jack Clifford, and Joe Gray gave Quins a 21-6 lead at the break
Visser completed his brace after the restart with scores from Joe Marchant and Marland Yarde securing the win
Harlequins kept their Premiership play-off hopes alive with a bonus-point victory over Newcastle Falcons, who slipped to their sixth straight defeat.
With just one win in their last five, Quins came into this one disjointed and desperately in need of a positive result. Falcons were in even worse form, winless in five.
A Tim Visser double and scores from Jack Clifford, Joe Gray, Joe Marchant and Marland Yarde means Quins are currently five points off fourth-placed Leicester Tigers – with Wasps facing Northampton Saints tomorrow.
Harlequins did suffer a second-half scare at Twickenham Stoop though as Nili Latu’s brace and Marcus Watson’s try meant Newcastle only trailed 28-25 with less than 20 minutes remaining before Quins pulled away.
Mike Delany slotted a penalty in front of the posts for visiting Newcastle to open the scoring before shortly after Quins winger Tim Visser latched onto an easy interception and Ben Botica added the extras for the home side.
The Falcons fly-half then narrowed the gap to a single point with a second three-pointer but further tries from back-rower Jack Clifford and Joe Gray, both converted by Botica, putting Quins in control with a comfortable 21-6 lead at the break.
Harlequins began the second half on the front foot, in search of the fourth try that would earn them an all-important bonus point as Marchant slipped into touch down, with Botica converting for 28-6.
A comeback looked unlikely, but Newcastle reduced the deficit to just three points through three quickfire tries through Sean Robinson and a brace from Nili Latu, meaning the game was delicately poised at 28-25.
However, the momentum swung again as a pair of Botica penalties in the next seven minutes eased the pressure on Harlequins, putting them more than a full score ahead before Visser then scored his second try of the match with eight minutes remaining, getting on the end of a grubber to re-establish a 14 point lead.
And after Delany was showed a yellow card for a dangerous tackle in the dying stages, speedster Yarde went over for Quins with the last play of the game: Botica converting to make it a convincing 46-25.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Harlequins: Tim Visser
Newcastle: 15 Simon Hammersley, 14 Alex Tait, 13 Adam Powell, 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Alesana Tuilagi, 10 Tom Catterick, 9 Mike Blair (c), 8 Uili Kolo’ofai, 7 Mark Wilson, 6 Richard Mayhew, 5 Scott Macleod, 4 Calum Green, 3 Kieran Brookes, 2 Scott Lawson, 1 Eric Fry.
Replacements: 16 George McGuigan, 17 Rob Vickers, 18 Alex Rogers, 19 Will Witty, 20 Andy Saull, 21 Ruki Tipuna, 22 Andy Tuilagi, 23 Zach Kibirige.
Harlequins: 15 Ollie Lindsay-Hague, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Harry Sloan, 11 Charlie Walker, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care (c), 8 Netani Talei, 7 Jack Clifford, 6 James Chisholm, 5 Charlie Matthews, 4 George Merrick, 3 Matt Shields, 2 Dave Ward, 1 Darryl Marfo.
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Rob Buchanan, 18 Seb Adeniran-Olule, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Joe Trayfoot, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Tom Williams.
Date: Saturday, May 16
Kick-off: 15:30 BST, 14:30 GMT
Venue: Kingston Park
Referee: Thomas Foley
Assistant Referees: Steve Lee, Robin Goodliffe
TMO: David Sainsbury