Harlequins stay on course with Leinster victory

Harlequins remained on track for European Champions Cup quarter final by beating former champions Leinster 24-18 at the Twickenham Stoop on Sunday.

Quins and Leinster were embroiled in an arm-wrestle for 50 minutes before veteran No.8 Nick Easter scored the hosts’ first try.

By then Quins had lost New Zealander fly-half Nick Evans to injury but not before he responded to Ian Madigan’s opening penalty.

Evans’s replacement Tim Swiel twice put the hosts in front from the tee, only for Madigan to level up and the sides went into the break at 9-9.

Madigan’s fourth penalty gave the three-time champions the lead but Easter turned, twisted and stretched out his arms over his head as he was brought to ground to just inch the ball onto the line on 54 minutes and give the English the lead, which was extended to 16-12 by Swiel’s conversion.

Quins had their tails up but a great kick chase from Darragh Fanning took Leinster deep down into home territory.

They spun the ball out to the right but Asaeli Tikoirotuma picked off Rob Kearney’s blind pass and ran back 90 yards to add a second score, although Swiel missed with the extras.

That was the cue for Leinster to flex their muscles as Quins paid for a series of errors, with two more quick-fire Maidgan penalties making it a three-point game.

But scrum-half Danny Care took the Irish by surprise five minutes from time by knocking over a drop goal with his left foot to seal the win.

Final Score Harlequins 24 (9) Leinster 18 (9)

Scorers

Harlequins
Tries – Easter, Tikoirotuma
Pen -Evans, Swiel 2
Con – Swiel
Drop – Care

Leinster
Tries –
Pen – Madigan 6
Con –
Drop –

Match Officials
Referee
: Jerome Garces (France),
Assistant ref: Maxime Chalon (France),
Assistant ref: Patrick Pechambert (France),
TMO: Philippe Bonhoure (France),
Citing commissioner :John Charles (Wales)

Harlequins: Mike Brown; Marland Yarde, Matt Hopper, George Lowe, Aseli Tikoirotuma; Nick Evans, Danny Care; Joe Marler (c), Dave Ward, Will Collier, Charlie Matthews, George Robson, Luke Wallace, Chris Robshaw, Nick Easter

Replacements: Joe Gray, Mark Lambert, Kyle Sinckler, Sam Twomey, Jack Clifford, Karl Dickson, Tim Swiel, Tom Casson

Leinster Rugby: Rob Kearney; Darragh Fanning, Gordon D’Arcy, Ian Madigan, Luke Fitzgerald; Jimmy Gopperth, Eoin Reddan; Jack McGrath, Sean Cronin, Mike Ross, Devin Toner, Mike McCarthy, Rhys Ruddock, Jordi Murphy, Jamie Heaslip (c)

Replacements: Bryan Byrne, Michael Bent, Tadhg Furlong, Kane Douglas, Jack Conan, Isaac Boss, Noel Reid, Zane Kirchner

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