Harlequins v London Irish | Anglo Welsh LV=Cup Highlights - Harlequins v London Irish | Anglo Wels
Ollie Lindsay-Hague provided an 85th-minute match-winning try for Harlequins as they emerged victorious with an emphatic 26-19 win over London Irish.
The Stoop was greeted to some new faces as Harlequins went onto the pitch for round one of this year's LV= Cup.
Conor O'Shea's squad, although different on paper, certainly played with the enthusiasm and inventiveness Quins fans have become accustomed to.
The fresh-faced side began positively, setting the tempo of the game, surging forward and spinning the ball wide to Seb Stegmann on the wing who looked to be in but was caught just short as the ball was recycled for a Rory Clegg cross-field kick to captain Will Skinner, who fell into touch.
Quins were not deterred and were spurred on by an excited home crowd, soon rewarded with a try just seven minutes in from centre Ben Urdapilleta who sidled through the Irish defence.
Clegg added the extras.
Meanwhile, the Exiles looked as though they had nothing to give in attack as they were made to work hard in defence to keep Quins at bay.
A smattering of penalties, one from Clegg and two from Irish full-back Tom Homer, was all that came out of the second part of the first half as the game remained an exciting spectacle of running rugby.
But neither side were able to breach the opposition defence and the half finished 10-6 in Quins' favour.
Quins started the second half with the urgency of a team in a final and of course to many, in particular the younger players, a good performance to them could mean more regular selection.
Despite having the majority of the territory and playing most of the rugby, Quins' second try of the match eluded them as they had to make do with penalties alone to keep them in the game as Homer continued to kick brilliantly, one in particular coming in from beyond halfway.Some keen running from the backs, most notably Urdapilleta and Tom Casson in the centres, kept the crowd entertained but Quins were after more as a try looked to be imminent.
At 16-12 Irish found themselves in a more desirable position and pushing for a try with just under 15 minutes to go but were turned over and the ball cleared by the head-sure hosts.
But, try and try again, Irish worked their way back into the opposition 22 as Quins defended for their lives.Backed by a roaring crowd with hearts in mouths, Quins held Irish up twice over the line.But it was third time lucky for the away team as replacement flanker David Sisi ran horizontal to the ground, arrow-like through the Quins' battered defence to give them the lead.
Homer maximised on points for a 16-19 lead with six minutes to go.Quins now needed a last-minute try to come away with the win but made do with a Clegg penalty conversion on the 76th minute to bring the score to 19-19 with the clock running down all too quickly and fans resigned to Quins accepting a draw.
The players, however, had other things on their minds.The magic game with the clock completely run down and five extra minutes played as 74th-minute replacement and ex-England 7s star Lindsay-Hague came out of nowhere to receive a Stegmann offload to run in for blistering try to end the match 26-19 and get Quins' tournament off to a winning start.Quins will play their next LV= Cup tie away to Sale Sharks next week.
Harlequins: Williams, Stegmann, Urdapilleta, Casson, Smith, Clegg, Bolt, Marler, Brooker, Johnston, Twomey, Matthews, Wallace, Skinner, York
Replacements: Buchanan, Lambert, Sincklar, Merrick, Trayfoot, Lindsay-Hague, Hopper, Walker
London Irish: Homer, Ojo, Spratt, Armitage, Thompstone, Jarvis, Hodgson, Lahiff, Buckland, Rautenbach, Kennedy, Evans, Danaher, Gibson, Gray
Replacements: Blaney, George, Ion, Sisi, Thorpe, Ansbro, Shingler, Samson