Quins claim play-off spot
April 20, 2013
Harlequins beat Worcester to secure a playoff place
Harlequins secured their place in the Aviva Premiership play-offs with a 42-26 victory over Worcester at Sixways.
Worcester showed great spirit but the Quins always had the edge in terms of creativity and had Nick Evans been on better goal kicking form, the visitors would have won by a greater margin. However, the game was marred by the serious leg injury suffered by Worcester No.8 Semisi Taulava with ten minutes remaining.
For the first time this season, Harlequins selected the starting line-up which won last season's Premiership final at Twickenham, with Nick Easter making his 200th appearance for the club and prop James Johnston his 100th. Worcester's recent run of eight defeats from their last nine matches saw the departure of director of rugby Richard Hill. They gave a first Premiership start to 19-year-old wing Ben Howard and recalled Jon Clarke at centre in place of the suspended Josh Matavesi.
Against the run of play, Worcester took a 12th minute lead. The Quins carelessly lost possession in the home 22 allowing the Warriors to counter-attack in style. A long pass from Andy Goode sent Josh Drauniniu away and he raced 40 metres before releasing Chris Pennell to celebrate his 100th appearance for the club with an excellent try. Goode converted before Evans put the visitors on the score board with a simple penalty.
Maurie Fa'asavalu was creating havoc in the Warriors defence with his charging runs, one of which took the Quins deep into the opposition 22. The visitors secured possession for Evans to brush past some weak tackling for the try which he converted.
A penalty from Goode brought the scores level at 10-10 at the end of the first quarter before the Warriors regained the lead. Alex Grove charged away and kicked ahead before nailing Danny Care, who was penalised for not releasing and Goode kicked another goal.
Harlequins continued to play enterprisingly and it was no surprise to see them regain the lead when a clever pass from an alert Care gave Tom Williams the chance to dash in at the corner for the try which Evans was unable to convert.
With three minutes remaining of the first half, Quins extended their lead when Care took advantage of a strong forward drive to avoid Goode's tackle and nip over for the try before a third penalty from Goode restricted the Quins lead to 20-16 at the interval.
Worcester stunned Quins with a try within a minute of the restart. A poor kick-off from Evans was capitalised by the Warriors with Pennell evading three defenders on a 50-metre run before presenting Grove with the scoring pass. Goode converted and quickly added another penalty to give the hosts a 26-20 lead.
The visitors responded with their bonus point try and once again Fa'asavalu was the catalyst; the flanker tore away from a ruck on half way to make 40 metres with Care again on hand to collect the try but another miss from Evans ensured Quins were one point behind. Evans kept his cool to kick his second penalty before Quins suffered a big blow when they lost captain Chris Robshaw, who was helped from the field with a leg injury.
Quins looked to have scored again when Williams chased a kick ahead into the in-goal area and appeared to have secured the touchdown but referee, Martin Fox, ruled no try.
The visitors weren't denied for long as Evans charged down a clearance kick for a try which he converted to give the Quins a nine-point advantage going into the last 10 minutes before their sixth try from Mike Brown sealed victory.
Danny Care scored twice against Worcester © Getty Images
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