Planet Rugby

Harlequins romp to first win

25th September 2010 17:04

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George Lowe of Quins cuts inside Mark Foster

Harlequins win: George Lowe of Quins cuts inside Mark Foster

Harlequins picked up their first victory of the season as they romped home to a 40-13 bonus-point win over Exeter at Twickenham Stoop on Saturday.

Former New Zealand fly-half Nick Evans kicked 20 points without missing for the hosts, who also ran in four tries.

Exeter might, however, feel aggrieved at the punishment that came their way from referee Sean Davey, who made the second half particularly one-sided with a host of penalties.

To make matters worse for the visitors Davey showed yellow cards to scrum-half Aidan Thomas and lock James Hanks, one exactly 10 minutes after the other, which meant Exeter played a quarter of a game a man short.

Newly-promoted Exeter, boasting two wins from the first three Aviva Premiership games in their history, arrived brimming with confidence, something their hosts found more difficult to generate after collecting a meagre three points from as many games.

Quins took the initiative from their own kick-off and earned a penalty for offside in the first minute, steered home without fuss by Evans.

Within a minute, Evans pinned the visitors back again this time with an accurate kick from hand and it was clear that Exeter had been caught cold.

Their problems increased when number eight James Phillips was helped off after only six minutes with an ankle injury to be replaced by Chad Slade.

And the pressure told when Quins were awarded another penalty by referee Davey which Evans again despatched with seven minutes on the clock.

It took Exeter nearly 10 minutes to get some decent ball they could run and when they did Quins promptly went offside and conceded a needless penalty - precisely what they were criticised for by their coaches during the week.

The prolific Gareth Steenson made them pay with a precise finish.

Now it was Harlequins' turn to defend which they managed well against some swift handling and strong running by Exeter, looking more assured as soon as they got on the scoreboard.

The home coaching team were bristling when Exeter were gifted another penalty for offside but this time Steenson's ambitious effort struck a post.

The fly-half did not have to wait long for another shot at goal as Harlequins were penalised for going offside in front of their posts. Steenson's kick levelled matters on 23 minutes.

Evans took less than two minutes later to complete his hat-trick of penalties, this time Exeter offside in front of their posts.

Harlequins launched the best attack of the game so far in the 31st minute, a sweeping succession of phases sparked by Evans and was finished from close range by England number eight Nick Easter, who was being watched in the stand by England forwards coach John Wells. Evans converted the try.

Exeter ended the half strongly forcing Quins to produce a number of big tackles to keep their line intact.

But referee Davey absolutely hammered Exeter penalty-wise in the second half, sending first scrum-half Thomas to the sin-bin for not retreating at a penalty and seconds before he was due to come back lock Hanks was yellow-carded for the very same offence.

In between Evans, easily the best player on the pitch, arrowed over his fifth kick out of five and also converted calmly from the touchline when wing Gonzalo Camacho thundered in on the left for Quins' second try.

The penalties kept coming as Exeter, now forced to play 20 minutes a man short, struggled desperately to stem the tide.

When awarded yet another penalty, Harlequins elected for a scrum, not least because Hanks was missing and one huge push later Exeter caved in on their line and referee Davey awarded a penalty try which Evans converted.

Tom Guest added his side's fourth try 14 minutes from the end before Mark Foster crossed the whitewash four minutes later to give Exeter a consolation score.

The scorers

For Harlequins:
Tries:Easter, Camacho, Penalty Try, Guest
Cons: Evans 4 Pens:Evans 4

For Exeter:
Tries:Foster
Cons:Davis
Pens:Steenson 2

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Gonzalo Camacho, 13 Ollie Smith, 12 Jordan Turner-Hall, 11 George Lowe, 10 Nick Evans, 9 Danny Care, 8 Nick Easter, 7 Will Skinner, 6 Chris Robshaw (c), 5 Tomas Vallejos, 4 Ollie Kohn, 3 James Johnston, 2 Matt Cairns, 1 Joe Marler,

Replacements: 16 Chris Brooker, 17 Ceri Jones, 18 Mark Lambert, 19 Pete Brown, 20 Tom Guest, 21 Karl Dickson, 22 Rory Clegg, 23 Ross Chisholm.

Exeter: 15 Luke Arscott, 14 Matt Jess, 13 Nic Sestaret, 12 Bryan Rennie, 11 Mark Foster, 10 Gareth Steenson, 9 Haydn Thomas, 8 James Phillips, 7 James Scaysbrook, 6 Tom Johnson, 5 James Hanks, 4 Tom Hayes (c), 3 Hoani Tui, 2 Neil Clark, 1 Brett Sturgess.

Replacements:16 Simon Alcott, 17 Ben Moon, 18 Chris Budgen, 19 Dave Gannon, 20 Chad Slade, 21 Junior Poluleuligaga, 22 Ryan Davis, 23 Paul McKenzie.

Referee: Sean Davey

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