Bonus-point win for Harlequins

Date published: October 13 2016

Harlequins began their Challenge Cup campaign with a 43-21 bonus-point win over Stade Français at the Twickenham Stoop on Thursday.

Tries from Joe Marler, Joe Marchant, Tim Visser (2), James Chisholm (2) and Marland Yarde saw the English side to all five points at home.

Sekou Macalou, Clement Daguin and Willem Alberts went over for Gonzalo Quesada's outfit, but they will lament a sluggish opening period.

Harlequins had the European contest sewn up by the interval as an impressive first 40 saw them go in 31-7 to the good thanks to five tries.

They raced out the blocks with a pushover try from returning prop Marler before an injury to second-row George Merrick halted proceedings.

When the match restarted it was Quins who increased their lead when a mistake from Stade Français fly-half Jules Plisson led to Marchant capitalising and scoring from the stray pass. This time Quins fly-half Tim Swiel couldn't add the extras but his team were thriving at 12-0.

That became 19-0 on 21 minutes when a lovely interchange between Visser and Mike Brown led to the Scotland wing going over for the third try.

Fortunately for Stade Français they were somewhat gifted a route back into the match when Yarde's poor high kick was taken by Macalou, who slipped the wing's tackle before racing to the whitewash. With the simple conversion the visitors had cut the scoreline down to 19-7.

But Harlequins showed their class heading into the break with two Chisholm tries, both showing good power, extending the lead to 24 points.

It was very much a case of job already done for the hosts in the second-half as no scores were added until the minute 57. That score was harsh on Stade Français as a sustained spell of possession in the home 22 ended with an intercept from Visser who ran the length to cross.

Deservedly the visitors hit back soon after through Daguin as he finished off good teamwork down the short side to make it 36-14 to Quins.

Replacement flanker Alberts further reduced the arrears on 70 minutes with a powerful carry under the posts and suddenly, at 36-21, a losing bonus-point was a possibility for Stade Français, who were leading the second-half 14-5 after a much-improved showing after the break.

But Quins would have the final say as Yarde crossed for the final try late on to wrap up a perfect start to the pool campaign for his side.

The scorers:

For Harlequins:
Tries: Marler, Marchant, Visser 2, Chisholm 2, Yarde
Cons: Swiel 3, Jackson

For Stade Français:
Tries: Macalou, Daguin, Alberts
Cons: Plisson 3

Harlequins: 15 Mike Brown, 14 Marland Yarde, 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tim Swiel, 9 Karl Dickson, 8 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 6 Chris Robshaw, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 George Merrick, 3 Will Collier, 2 Rob Buchanan, 1 Joe Marler
Replacements: 16 Joe Gray, 17 Owen Evans, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Sam Twomey, 20 Mat Luamanu, 21 Charlie Mulchrone, 22 Ruaridh Jackson, 23 Winston Stanley

Stade Français: 15 Djibril Camara, 14 Waisea Vuidarvuwalu, 13 Meyer Bosman, 12 Paul Williams, 11 Jérémy Sinzelle, 10 Jules Plisson, 9 Clement Daguin, 8 Sergio Parisse, 7 Raphael Lakafia, 6 Sekou Macalou, 5 Pascal Papé (c), 4 Hugh Pyle, 3 Rabah Slimani, 2 Craig Burden, 1 Zak Taulafo
Replacements: 16 Remi Bonfils, 17 Zurabi Zhvania, 18 Giorgi Melikidze, 19 Mathieu De Giovanni, 20 Willem Alberts, 21 Arthur Coville, 22 Faraj Fartass, 23 Théo Millet

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (Wales)