Crucial win for Quins over Exiles
February 11, 2012
Harlequins returned to winning ways as winger Tom Williams helped orchestrate a 30-23 victory over London Irish at the Stoop which extended the home side's at the top of the Aviva Premiership.
Quins were on a poor run of form, having lost four of their last five games in all competitions, and were left trailing in the first half after Tom Homer scored all of London Irish's points to give them a 13-10 interval lead.
However, Williams, who assisted with Tom Casson's first-half try, won a race to a loose ball to touch down after the restart before also having a hand in fullback Ross Chisholm's score that killed off the Exiles challenge.
Quins fell behind inside the first four minutes as Homer broke through the Harlequins line in the 22 and dived over before converting his own score.
Fly-half Nick Evans responded with a penalty four minutes later but Homer thought he had cancelled that score out, only to see his kick from just inside the Quins half drop under the bar.
Evans' radar was also slightly off as he missed two relatively simple penalty chances to put Quins on top. However, an excellent line-break from Williams after 22 minutes put Quins on the front-foot, and some neat interplay tight on the right eventually led to Luke Wallace feeding Casson, who dived over to put Quins in front for the first time in the match.
However, after some solid yard making from the London Irish backs, Homer drew the scores level with a 40-yard penalty before sending Irish in three points ahead with the last kick of the half.
Irish, though, made a hash of the restart, as Dan Bowden's kick was charged down by lock George Robson. Williams showed the most pace to just reach the bouncing ball to score within 30 seconds and put Quins back in front.
Harlequins blindside flanker Tom Guest makes a break at the Stoop © Getty Images
A huge Quins maul then pushed into the Irish 22 before Danny Care kicked an unorthodox drop goal from the ruck to send the hosts 20-13 ahead.
Irish hit back when after 51 minutes centre Jonathan Joseph broke free from three separate tackles and burst over the line, with Homer's conversion levelling the scores again.
Another Evans penalty six minutes later edged Quins back in front and then they pulled away from the visitors when Williams sent a grubber through for Chisholm to collect and hand off Homer expertly to give himself a clear run to the whitewash.
Adrian Jarvis's 75th-minute penalty gave Irish hope but they could not find another score as they slipped to a fourth straight away defeat.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
"Some people have it from day one and Brian did." Tom Hamilton talks to the two players who made their Ireland debuts alongside Brian O'Driscoll back in June 1999
Despite having lost all four of their 2014 Six Nations games, the future of Italian rugby is bright with the team showing a new youthful core, argues Enrico Borra
"The loudest cheer at a rugby game, away from social media gimmicks, pumping music and pyrotechnics will always be for a try." Tom Hamilton on the Twickenham atmosphere
"The only thing that will stop this England team from becoming a great team is themselves. They need to ask themselves 'what can we be?'" The Phil Vickery column