Harlequins marched impressively into the Heineken Cup quarters with a comfortable 47-8 win against Connacht at the Stoop.
Harlequins marched impressively into the Heineken Cup quarter-finals with a comfortable bonus point 47-8 win against Connacht at the Stoop on Saturday.
The home side's progress into the last eight was serene in the end but the men from Galway began brightly at the Stoop and trailed by just two Nick Evans penalties to one from Matthew Jarvis after half an hour.
Quins turned up the heat towards the end of the first half though by turning down a simple shot at goal to kick for the corner and, after a driving maul was stopped just short of the line, the forwards scrummaged Connacht into submission and were duly awarded a penalty try.
And Evans made it 16-3 at the break by adding a further three points to the total with the final action of the half after another penalty was won by the pack in the scrum.
The visitors did not start the second half in as positive a fashion as the first and they found themselves with a 20-point deficit to make up two minutes in after Mike Brown set up Tom Williams to score in the corner.
And that was the cue for Connacht to collapse as both Johnny O'Connor and Fetu'u Vainikolo were sinbinned relatively harshly within the space of two minutes and that left acres of space for Brown to provide Williams with his second try and Quins' third.
The Irishmen were briefly down to 12 men after Ethienne Reynecke and Joe Marler were given yellow cards for exchanging blows off the ball but O'Connor grabbed a consolation try for them just minutes after returning to the fray.
That is all it was though as the hosts sealed a bonus point with quarter of an hour left on the clock, Ugo Monye raising the biggest cheer of the afternoon with a great solo effort to score on his 200th appearance for the club.
Replacements George Lowe and Ben Botica added the fifth and sixth tries late on to take the score past 40 points and add some extra gloss to a comprehensive win that takes the Premiership champions into the quarter finals and few will fancy facing them.
Tries: Penalty, Williams 2, Monye, Lowe, Botica
Cons: Evans 2, Botica 2
Pens: Evans 3
Yellow card: Marler
Yellow cards: Vainikolo; O'Connor; Reynecke
Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Tom Casson, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw (c), 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Olly Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Joe Gray, 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Rob Buchanan, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 George Lowe.
Connacht: 15 Robbie Henshaw, 14 Tiernan O'Halloran, 13 Eoin Griffin, 12 Dave McSharry, 11 Fetu'u Vainikolo, 10 Matthew Jarvis, 9 Kieran Marmion, 8 Eoin McKeon, 7 Johnny O'Connor, 6 Andrew Browne, 5 Mike McCarthy, 4 Michael Swift, 3 Nathan White (capt), 2 Jason Harris-Wright, 1 Denis Buckley.
Replacements: 16 Ethienne Reynecke, 17 Brett Wilkinson, 18 Ronan Loughney, 19 Mick Kearney, 20 Eoghan Grace, 21 Paul O'Donohoe, 22 Miah Nikora, 23 James Loxton.