Marcus Smith’s accuracy from the kicking tee proved the difference as Harlequins beat Bath 15-9 in a tense Heineken Champions Cup encounter.
Four penalties from Smith put Harlequins 12-0 up after 50 minutes in an all-Gallagher Premiership clash at the Stoop. Freddie Burns knocked over two kicks of his own to halve the deficit as Bath threatened a comeback before a James Lang penalty made it 15-6.
Elia Elia was sent to the sin bin late on and Burns reduced the deficit to six, but it was not enough as Harlequins held on for a deserved win.
Both sides went into the match having lost their opening games and the hosts asserted their control within the first two minutes, winning a penalty from the scrum as Smith knocked over from 40 metres.
Two more kicks from Smith followed soon after as he punished Bath’s early ill-discipline to put his side 9-0 up after 15 minutes.
(Continue reading below…)
Harlequins threatened the game’s first try after great hands from Smith and Matt Symons allowed Elia to bundle his way to the five-metre line, but the hosts fumbled the ball to waste the opportunity.
They looked comfortable with their lead though, a big hit from Semesa Rokoduguni on Mike Brown about as positive as the half got for Bath as they failed to gain any sort of possession in Harlequins territory.
Harlequins started the half quickly again and went close to scoring through Smith and then Danny Care, who looked certain to dot down as he dived for the line but was stopped just short.
The hosts had the penalty advantage though and opted for the scrum five metres out, before deciding to take the points two minutes later from another penalty as Smith made it 12-0 after 50 minutes. Bath got themselves on the scoreboard soon after as Burns converted his first kick of the match, and the three points shifted the momentum of the match.
‘It means a huge amount. I first watched the club when I was ten, above the ground looking into it on the bridge above, and dreamt one day playing for them’
– New director of rugby Stuart Hooper tells @heagneyl exactly why @bathrugby is so special to himhttps://t.co/Dg1KXa83VA
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) November 14, 2019
The visitors enjoyed their first sustained spell in the Harlequins 22, and Bath won another penalty right in front of the posts after good work from the forwards to give Burns the simplest of kicks as the lead was cut to six.
It was a tense finale but the hosts’ nerves were calmed when Bath went off their feet at the breakdown and Lang stepped up to land a penalty from near the halfway line.
Elia was sent to the sin bin with five minutes to go for a high tackle and Burns knocked over a penalty in front of the posts to make it 15-9 but Harlequins did enough to secure a tight victory.
– Press Association
WATCH: RugbyPass looks back on some of our favourite moments with the fans at the 2019 World Cup in Japan
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now