Harlequins got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a winning start on Saturday with a 40-13 bonus-point victory over Biarritz at the Stoop.
English champions Harlequins got their Heineken Cup campaign off to a winning start on Saturday with a 40-13 bonus-point victory over Biarritz at the Twickenham Stoop.
Drawn with unfancied Connacht and Zebre, a full house of points for Quins puts them in firm control of Pool Three.
England scrum-half Danny Care put in an excellent performance, as did replacement fly-half Ben Botica, who eased the fears of the Quins faithful when Nick Evans was forced off injured in the first quarter.
The scores were level at 13-13 at the interval after Care's early try for the hosts was cancelled out by a push-over try from the Biarritz pack.
Quins took the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half though. A try from hooker Rob Buchanan put the hosts in front before another touchdown via centre Jordan Turner-Hall secured the win.
Seb Stegmann crossed in the final minute to ensure the bonus point for the hosts.
Quins got off to the best possible start as a training ground line-out move worked perfectly after five minutes and Chris Robshaw knocked the ball down to Care, who burst through the French defence and jinked his way to the try-line.
Julien Peyrelongue then exchanged penalties with Botica and the visitors began to battle their way back into the match. And, despite having Dane Haylett-Petty sinbinned for tackling Tom Williams in the air, Biarritz levelled the scores midway through the first half as they took advantage of an attacking line-out and hooker Arnaud Heguy crashed over to score.
Peyrelongue and Botica again exchanged penalties as the half wore on but neither side was able to take control and the game was left finely poised at the break.
Harlequins came out reinvigorated and fired up after the interval though and they surged into a 10-point lead courtesy of a short-range try from Buchanan and the conversion and another penalty from Botica.
Botica, who has spent time playing rugby in Biarritz in the past, added a further three points as the game moved into its final quarter and Turner-Hall made the win safe shortly afterwards as he went over in the right-hand corner after a superb initial break from Care had laid the platform.
With the match in the bag, the hosts went in search of the bonus point and they got it in the dying stages.
A powerful driving line-out from the forwards came up just short of the line and Care delivered quick ball out to Mike Brown and Seb Stegmann, who forced his way over in the corner to wrap up an ideal night for Harlequins.
Tries: Care, Buchanan, Turner-Hall, Stegman
Cons: Evans, Botica 2
Pens: Botica 4
Pens: Peyrelongue 2
Yellow cards: Haylett-Petty (Biarritz -17th min – tackle in air)
Harlequins:15 Mike Brown, 14 Tom Williams, 13 Matt Hopper, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 Ugo Monye, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Chris Robshaw, 6 Maurie Fa'asavalu, 5 George Robson, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler,
Replacements: 16 Dave Ward, 17 Mark Lambert, 18 Will Collier, 19 Charlie Matthews, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Ben Botica, 23 Seb Stegmann,
Biarritz: 15 Iain Balshaw, 14 Taku Ngwenya, 13 Dane Haylett-Petty, 12 SeremaÃ¯a Burotu, 11 Aled Brew, 10 Mat Berquist, 9 Yann Lesgourgues, 8 Talalelei Gray, 7 Wenceslas Lauret, 6 Magnus Lund, 5 Thibault Dubarry, 4 Erik Lund, 3 Francisco Gomez Kodela, 2 Arnaud Heguy, 1 Fabien Barcella
Replacements:16 Benoit August, 17 Lodewicus Blaauw, 18 Thomas Synaeghel, 19 Pelu Taele, 20 Benoit Guyot, 21 Julien Peyrelongue, 22 Damien Traille, 23 BenoÃ®t Baby,
Venue: Twickenham Stoop
Referee: George Clancy (Ireland)
Assistant referees: Leo Colgan (Ireland), John Carvill (Ireland)
Television match official: Marshall Kilgore (Ireland)
Timekeeper: Bob Ockenden (England)
Assessor: Fergus Neil (Scotland)
Citing commissioner: Alberto Recaldini (Ireland)