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Harlequins maintain winning start to Anglo-Welsh Cup campaign

Published 11/11/2016

Charlie Matthews scored one of Harlequins' tries
Charlie Matthews scored one of Harlequins' tries

Harlequins continued their unbeaten Anglo-Welsh Cup run with a hard-fought 15-12 victory over Ospreys at St Helen's.

Quins scored tries through number eight George Naoupu and lock Charlie Matthews with replacement Tim Swiel kicking a conversion and a crucial late penalty.

The Ospreys tries came from wing Tom O'Flaherty and full-back Dafydd Howells with fly-half Luke Price adding a conversion.

Former Wales prop Adam Jones faced one of his old regions as Harlequins made six changes from the team that beat Exeter Chiefs 29-15 in the first round.

Ruaridh Jackson, Luc Jones, Winston Stanley, Owen Evans, Naoupu and Jones all came in.

Wales squad duo Dan Baker and Rory Thornton were included by Ospreys.

Ospreys also fielded three players making their first regional starts - Price, Joe Thomas and Rhodri Jones.

The home side went in at half-time with a 12-5 lead, helped by the fact they scored the first of their tries only three minutes into the match.

The influential Baker made ground from a free-kick and after Scott Otten had also got his side over the gainline, fly-half Price sent a long pass to O'Flaherty, who made it over in the left corner. Price missed the conversion.

Harlequins had a good period of possession but their line-out let them down at the crucial moment.

It took Quins until the 24th minute to get back on level terms when Naoupu went over from a scrum, but Jackson missed the conversion.

Quins suffered a setback when Jones was sin-binned for killing Ospreys possession right in front of the posts, and from the resulting penalty the Welsh region opted for a scrum with Howell going over on the left. Price converted giving his side a seven-point lead on 34 minutes.

Jackson missed an opportunity to cut the deficit five minutes into the second half when he missed a penalty shot from in front the of the posts.

But Quins were back level on the hour when Matthews went over from short range with Swiel adding the conversion.

And it was Swiel's penalty on 73 minutes, to take Quins into the lead for the first time, that was the difference between the sides.

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