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Italian star impresses Harlequins Tabai Matson on debut

By PA

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Harlequins director of rugby Tabai Matson was impressed by Tommy Allan’s debut performance as the fly-half filled Marcus Smith’s boots in style during a 26-20 victory over Newcastle Falcons.

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With superstar number 10 Smith currently sidelined due to the mandatory rest period for British and Irish Lions players, summer signing Allan was thrust into the starting line-up as the reigning Gallagher Premiership champions kicked off their title defence at Kingston Park.

And the 61-cap Italy international did not let his new side down, scything through the Falcons defence to assist two of Quins’ four tries, while also kicking impressively from the tee and out of hand in a man-of-the-match display.

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Lions debrief with Hamish Watson
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Lions debrief with Hamish Watson

“Tommy Allan slotted into the system really well,” said Matson. “It’s not easy stepping in especially with big boots to fill unless you’re smart, skilful and experienced.

“That’s what he brings to the table. He is an international quality player who is very balanced, and he’s done very well.”

Allan set up tries for Joe Marchant and Louis Lynagh either side of half-time, while Lynagh also crossed early on following a looping Danny Care pass before the scrum-half scored a trademark sniping try to seal the bonus point.

“I’m more pleased for the team than I am for myself for winning this game,” added Matson. “It’s a good start to the campaign and it’s never easy coming up here.

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“It’s only the second time since 2012 that we have won here. It’s a massive step forward this result when you look at the results across the league this weekend.

“We got our bonus point though which helps and it was two great tries from Louis. He’s in a stable with some very good outside backs.”

Falcons played their part in an enthralling game, with winger Adam Radwan absolutely electric in possession. He scored one try himself and set up fellow academy graduate Iwan Stephens for another, while Louis Schreuder finished off a breakaway interception and they saw a couple of tries ruled out.

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Newcastle director of rugby Dean Richards said: “It’s unusual that we have crossed the line four times and not come away with the points, which is for various reasons.

“I don’t think we got the rub of the green with some of the decisions and that does happen. We gave away penalties and that’s fine but you expect consistency.

“Our mistakes were penalised and in playing games against the champions, it will be tough. We’ve got to be a little bit more compact in certain areas. A couple of their tries are from first or third phases plays so we need to look at being a little bit more clinical.

“It’s testament to the academy that we have young boys like Adam (Radwan), Ben (Stevenson) and Iwan (Stephens) coming through our processes.

“We still want to win games but it’s about developing players and winning games. Ultimately, the boys are disappointed today.”

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Italian star impresses Harlequins Tabai Matson on debut

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