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Harlequins run in eight tries to end Newcastle's slim Champions Cup hopes

By PA

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Danny Care scored two tries as Harlequins warmed up for the Gallagher Premiership play-offs with a comfortable 54-26 victory over Newcastle Falcons. Quins, who were already certain to finish fourth, ran in eight tries in total at The Stoop on a day where their first-choice players were restored having been rested against Sale Sharks last time out.

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Their refreshed attack had too much for Newcastle, whose slim Champions Cup qualification hopes were finally snuffed out as a result of a defeat where it took Harlequins less than four minutes to open the scoring as captain Alex Dombrandt broke off an attacking scrum before off-loading for fellow back-rower Jack Kenningham to power over.

Newcastle quickly hit back, however, as hooker George McGuigan was able to plunge over from a pick-and-go after a driving maul had been stopped just short of the line. The hosts struck off a scrum for a second time after 15 minutes, with Dombrandt picking up and feeding Care, who raced to the line without meeting much opposition before Marcus Smith added the extras.

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The generous defending continued as McGuigan went over for his second try after some flimsy tackling had allowed Joel Hodgson into a dangerous position, but Brett Connon’s missed conversion kept Quins in front.

Newcastle were then handed a reprieve when a Matt Symons ‘try’ was ruled out for foul play by Tom Lawday in the build-up when the flanker dangerously dropped off his feet at a ruck. But Harlequins did have a third try in the 32nd minute when Ben Tapuai picked up after Aaron Morris’ pass had gone loose and sent Care scurrying clear to score under the posts.

The bonus point was in the bag for Quins off the final play of the first half as quick hands by Joe Marchant allowed Tyrone Green to squeeze in down the left, with Smith’s excellent conversion putting them 28-12 ahead at half-time. It took five minutes of the second half for the hosts to pull further clear as Lawday collected Smith’s perfect chip towards the right wing before sending Louis Lynagh clear to score in the corner.

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Adam Radwan then pulled a try back for Newcastle with a superb individual effort that saw him dodge a couple of tacklers in his own half before he used his searing pace to go under the sticks. Normal service was quickly resumed by Harlequins, though, as Care’s ball inside gave Marchant a simple finish on the hour mark. Kyle Cooper rumbled over to earn the Falcons a try bonus point, but the hosts were able to run up the half-century in the closing stages thanks to late scores from Martin Landajo and Joe Gray.

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Harlequins run in eight tries to end Newcastle's slim Champions Cup hopes

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