Premiership: Newcastle Falcons hang on against Exeter Chiefs while Harlequins beat Gloucester

Planet Rugby
Danny Care for Harlequins

Danny Care was the star of the show as Harlequins sent Gloucester to a third straight Premiership defeat as the London outfit won 21-12 on Friday.

Care scored a brace of tries with Dino Lamb grabbing the other, with Tommaso Allan adding the conversions in what was a poor game at the Twickenham Stoop.

Ben Morgan and Santiago Socino went over for the Cherry and Whites as this latest defeat leaves them off the pace in the table, as they head home with nothing.

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Harlequins turned down chances to kick two early penalties in favour of attacking line-outs and were rewarded when Care forced his way over after eight minutes.

Gloucester struggled to get a foothold in the match, the concession of frequent penalties not helping their cause, and it came as no surprise when they fell further behind to a try from Lamb after his second-row partner Irne Herbst had created the opportunity with a quick off-load.

The visitors badly needed a response and they got one from their forte, a driving line-out which ended with Morgan crashing over.

The try was the catalyst for the Cherry and Whites pack to dominate the second quarter and they looked set for a second try when Jake Morris collected a superb cross-field kick from Louis Rees-Zammit but an excellent cover tackle from Quins full-back Nick David thwarted the Gloucester wing.

However, they were not denied for long as, moments later, Socino finished off another unstoppable line-out drive.

Back came Quins with a quick response. Captain Alex Dombrandt played a leading part in a flowing move which culminated with Care spotting a gap to dart over for his second score. Allan was again on target with the conversion to give his side a 21-12 interval lead.

Gloucester controlled the opening period of the second half but they lacked a cutting edge and were forced to introduce scrum-half Stephen Varney and centre Jack Reeves to try and improve their attacking potency.

A featureless third quarter finished scoreless as David brought off another excellent tackle by hauling down Morris, who had intercepted the ball inside his own 22 but lacked the speed to evade the cover defence.

Callum Murley threatened to get the scoreboard moving for the second half with a thrilling burst but Rees-Zammit showed his mettle to race back and save the day, before the Wales wing was forced to leave the field with an injury to complete a miserable night for Gloucester.

Newcastle Falcons hang on to beat Exeter Chiefs

Elsewhere, Brett Connon kicked a decisive penalty to see Newcastle to a 24-21 victory over Exeter in a tight contest at Kingston Park.

The Falcons led 21-14 at half-time after tries from George McGuigan, Mateo Carreras and Guy Pepper, with Ruben van Heerden and Jack Yeandle on the scoresheet for the Chiefs.

Connon’s penalty came from 40 metres out to extend the lead to 10 points, which proved decisive after Scott Sio scored for Chiefs.

It was the away side with the momentum at the death, but the Falcons defended with heart and managed to hold on for a second win in three matches.

The Falcons were rewarded for their bright start on six minutes, with McGuigan going over from the back of a maul for his seventh try of the season.

Exeter levelled things up after a spell of pressure in the Falcons 22, with Van Heerden barging his way over from close range.

Carreras continued his blistering form for the Falcons as he put them back in front after Adam Brocklebank showed a dummy to take a defender out of the game and his pass allowed Carreras to beat the last man and dot down.

Just before the interval, Exeter got back on level terms as Yeandle burrowed his way over from close range.

The Falcons took the lead once more with the final play of the half. A driving maul was halted illegally by Van Heerden and, from the ruck, Pepper went through the middle to score. Van Heerden was sent to the sin bin to compound the misery for Exeter.

The second half took a while to get going, but Freddie Lockwood almost made an immediate impact for Newcastle as he made a great line break, but he lost the ball reaching for the line.

The Falcons pack won a penalty 40 metres out and Connon opted to take the points to extend the lead as the game ticked past the hour mark.

Exeter squandered a great opportunity to reduce the deficit, with Dan Frost seemingly destined to go over, but a Falcons hand managed to force the knock on with the try-line beckoning.

A 74th-minute try from Sio – his first for the Chiefs – ensured a nervy finale, with Simmonds converting to make it a three-point game after a period of sustained pressure from the visitors.

The home side saw out the victory in the dying embers of the game as they ripped the ball from Exeter as the Chiefs pushed for the try-line.

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