Match Report

Harlequins - 10

Newcastle Falcons - 0

Sunday 04th Dec 2016

The home side led 21-8 after a blistering first-half performance, recovering from Tim Swiel’s eighth-minute penalty with three well-taken tries.

Their attacking buzz was evident as a string of ambitious offloads and sound supporting lines got them in behind the Quins defence on multiple occasions, Mike Delany’s wonderfully-weighted pass to Juan Pablo Socino opening up a hole for an early foray down the right.

The first try seemed only a matter of time with the Falcons showing such exuberance and enthusiasm with ball in hand, Michael Young the scorer as the scrum-half dotted down from a two-on-one as Alex Tait played a well-judged advantage.

Joel Hodgson converted, Harlequins regaining the lead when hooker Rob Buchanan dotted down in the right corner from a lofted pass by former Falcon Tim Visser.

But a gallant home side did not let it curtail their enterprising spirit, Will Witty stealing a midfield line-out as the tight-five played their part, before Socino raced in for their second try on the half-hour.

The Argentinean spotted an absence of fringe defenders at a ruck on the Quins’ 22 and exploited the opportunity magnificently, crossing the line without as much as a finger being laid on him.

Hodgson added the extras, skipper Mark Wilson claiming try number three when a sensational diagonal line from Tait got Newcastle to within five metres of the line, Wilson doing the rest with a close-range burst.

Hodgson’s conversion ensured a 19-point interval advantage, and the points kept coming when Witty’s linebreak and Fred Burdon’s offload put Socino away for his second.

In doing so the Falcons notched up their first four-try Premiership bonus point in almost two years, their last having come against Harlequins in May 2015.

But the Londoners gave themselves a foothold in the game on 51 minutes when scrum-half Karl Dickson wriggled over a try from a ruck at close quarters, replacement fly-half Ruaridh Jackson slotting the conversion from wide left.

Dickson’s second try, from a two-on-one by Tim Visser, narrowed the Falcons’ lead to just four, the home side attempting a response when Vereniki Goneva picked and went through the middle of a ruck only for Sonatane Takulua to be bundled into touch on the visitors’ 22.

But there was no stopping Evan Olmstead on 65 minutes when the Canadian international grounded his side’s fifth touchdown, Goneva supplying the scoring pass from a quick right-to-left transition.

Jackson chipped three back for Quins to give them a fighting chance, but the Falcons sealed it when Marcus Watson raced onto Takulua’s grubber to score the left corner before Visser’s consolation score at the death.

**Newcastle Falcons:** 15 Mike Delany, 14 Vereniki Goneva, 13 Fred Burdon (Dominic Waldouck, 78), 12 Juan Pablo Socino, 11 Alex Tait, 10 Joel Hodgson (Marcus Watson, 69), 9 Michael Young (Sonatane Takulua, 60); 1 Rob Vickers (Alex Rogers, 76), 2 Scott Lawson (Ben Sowrey, 74), 3 David Wilson (Jon Welsh, 60), 4 Evan Olmstead, 5 Will Witty, 6 Callum Chick (Opeti Fonua, 71), 7 Mark Wilson (captain), 8 Ally Hogg.

**Falcons scorers -** Tries: Michael Young, Juan Pablo Socino 2, Mark Wilson, Evan Olmstead, Marcus Watson. Conversions: Joel Hodgson 3, Mike Delany.

**Harlequins:** 15 Aaron Morris, 14 Alofa Alofa (Charlie Walker, 47), 13 Joe Marchant, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Tim Visser, 10 Tim Swiel (Ruaridh Jackson, 47), 9 Karl Dickson; 1 Mark Lambert (Owen Evans, 63), 2 Rob Buchanan, 3 Will Collier, 4 Charlie Matthews (George Merrick, 47), 5 James Horwill (captain), 6 James Chisholm, 7 Luke Wallace, 8 Jack Clifford.

**Harlequins scorers -** Tries: Rob Buchanan, Karl Dickson 2, Tim Visser. Conversions: Ruaridh Jackson 3. Penalties: Tim Swiel, Ruaridh Jackson.

**Referee:** Ian Tempest. **Attendance:** 6,054.