Newcastle edge out Harlequins thanks to last-gasp Brett Connon penalty
Brett Connon held his nerve to kick a last-minute penalty as Newcastle returning to winning ways by beating Harlequins 25-22. Falcons, whose last two games had been postponed due to Covid-19, claimed a first win since early January thanks to tries from Callum Chick, Logovi’i Mulipola and Adam Radwan and Connon’s composure from the tee late on.
Indiscipline cost Harlequins a fifth triumph on the trot, with Simon Kerrod sin-binned for a needless shoulder charge in the dying minutes. Quins looked sharper in the opening stages of the game, but it was the home side who took the lead with 13 minutes on the clock.
Chick, making his first start of the season, was able to score down the left after Aaron Morris misjudged a box kick and Ben Stevenson collected, offloading for the flanker to score. Connon added the extras. As the half progressed, Harlequins struggled for territory and were punished from a set-piece when Mulipola scored from a pick and go after an overthrow from a lineout.
Quins, though, responded straight away. Stephan Lewies steamed in from 20 metres after the Falcons failed to gather the restart, Marcus Smith kicking the conversion from tight on the right touchline. Inside the first five minutes of the second half, Newcastle came within five metres of the try line but, for the second time in the match, were pinged for holding on, giving the visitors the chance to clear their lines.
Radwan extended the lead after 48 minutes but in a less than typical manner as he barged his way over the line from a couple of metres under a tackle. Connon missed the conversion. Harlequins reduced the arrears after 55 minutes and it was a superb individual effort from Tyrone Green, who scored from a training ground lineout routine.
OK, Tyrone Green. We see you! ??
Superb running from the South African! ??
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) February 27, 2021
A superb step left Stevenson stranded and Green raced over, with Smith kicking the extras to make it a one-score game. Green levelled the game with another spectacular try after 63 minutes as he again raced down the right wing, the winger beating three defenders with his pace and hand-offs before scoring in the corner. Smith could not add the two points.
Indiscipline from Quins deep in their own territory gave Connon the easiest of opportunities to restore the lead for the home side with a little over 10 minutes remaining. However, Smith levelled the scores when he knocked a penalty over following a knock-on from Luther Burrell.
Pantomime boos went around the ground from the replacements after the TMO spotted a shoulder from Kerrod, which earned the Quins replacement a yellow card with four minutes remaining. From the resulting penalty, Falcons kicked into the 22 and won another penalty for offside. And Connon held his nerve to seal the victory, his kick sailing over with 40 seconds left on the clock.
Scared of missing the new @SuperRugbyNZ season?
Don't be. Sign up now and watch Super Rugby Aotearoa on RugbyPass' new viewing platform at https://t.co/5eJPahGm82
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 25, 2021
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now