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Pulsating Premiership contest goes the way of six-try Harlequins

By PA
(Photo by PA)

Harlequins avoided an opening day scare to see off Newcastle 40-31 in a pulsating Gallagher Premiership contest at Kingston Park. Newcastle struck first through hooker George McGuigan before the away side soon responded with Andre Green and Wilco Louw going over.

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Adam Radwan and Nathan Earle registered sublime solo scores to give the hosts a three-point lead at the break but Quins scored twice in quick succession after the interval through George Head and Lennox Anyanwu.

Tries from McGuigan and Logo Mulipola threatened to give Newcastle a shock win but Harlequins skipper Alex Dombrandt powered his way over before Joe Marchant put the icing on the cake on a nervy but deserved victory for last year’s semi-finalists.

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Falcons opened the scoring after 13 minutes with McGuigan powering over from close range after winning a penalty for offside five metres out. It did not take long for Quins to respond as Green danced his way through a couple of challenges to dot down under the posts before Louw barrelled his way over after 25 minutes to extend Tabai Matson’s side’s lead.

Newcastle’s reply was even more emphatic than their visitors, with Radwan and former Quin Earle both racing home from inside the Falcons half as a frenetic first half drew to a close. Five minutes after the interval, Quins went back in front when Newcastle were penalised close to their line.

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Head was the beneficiary as he went over from a maul and Tommaso Allan was on target for the third time with the conversion. The bonus point was secured for the visitors through Anyanwu, who capped a superb move that he had started inside the Quins in-goal area. The centre offloaded to Nick David who burst through before the ball found its way back to Anyanwu, who hared after his own chip, beat McGuigan to the loose ball and dotted down for a memorable score.

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McGuigan was never too far away from the action and bulldozed his way through for his second as Newcastle secured the try bonus point. Mulipola then crossed after a period of sustained pressure from the home side as Falcons fans started to believe that it was their day.

But Harlequins again came back, this time through Dombrandt who used his physicality to hold off two defenders to power over with four minutes remaining. The win was then sealed with under a minute on the clock.

Radwan and Falcons went in desperate search of an end-to-end try and the loose ball was gathered by England star Marchant who went over in the left corner as the scoring finally came to a close on a memorable afternoon in Newcastle.

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