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Quins find way past Welsh

London Welsh went down to their 12th Aviva Premiership loss of the season but they made an understrength Harlequins work far harder than they can have expected for their 24-13 victory.

Welsh were much the better side in the first half but squandered numerous opportunities which allowed their opponents to undeservedly lead 12-10 at the interval. Welsh continue to compete in the second half but Quins were more clinical in taking their chances to gain victory.

Karl Dickson, Marland Yarde, Tom Williams and replacement Kyle Sinckler scored tries for the Quins with Tim Swiel kicking two conversions. Paul Rowley scored Welsh's try with Will Robinson kicking two penalties and a conversion.

London Welsh were without their captain, Tom May, who was suspended after being sent off last week. Nic Reynolds took his place, with flanker, Carl Kirwan, leading the side. There were recalls for former Quins Peter Browne and Seb Stegmann with lock Ben West making his Premiership debut.

Harlequins were without a number of leading players with Chris Robshaw, Joe Marler, Care, Nick Evans, George Robson, and Mike Brown all missing from their starting line-up. They made five changes from last week's game against Northampton with Ollie Lindsay-Hague, Aseli Tikoirotuma and Dickson all recalled behind the scrum as were Joe Gray and Sam Twomey up front.

London Welsh made a strong start and were twice narrowly denied the opening try. Nick Scott chased a kick ahead to collect and looked a certain try-scorer until Yarde dashed back to prevent the wing from grounding the ball.

Moments later the hosts had another great opportunity but Stegmann was unable to gather a clever cross field kick from Piri Weepu, when there were no Quins defenders to challenge Stegmann.

The opening period was played at a frenetic pace as both teams tried to run the ball at every opportunity with Welsh again having a great chance to open the scoring. On half-way, Seb Jewell intercepted a careless pass from Matt Hopper to race away but he did not have the legs to make it to the line as he was hauled down 15 metres short.

Quins had their first chance, which they look to have taken when Yarde collected Swiel's kicked to step inside a defender and touch down but the wing had put a foot in touch so the game, despite plenty of entertainment was scoreless at the end of the first quarter.

After 21 minutes, Welsh deservedly opened the scoring with a superb try. Will Robinson carved the visitors' defence apart to send Scott away, with the wing running elusively to send Rowley in under the posts for the try which Robinson converted.

Quins soon responded. They declined a number of kickable penalties in favour of more attacking options and were rewarded when an alert Dickson caught the home side napping to dart over for the try which Swiel was unable to convert.

The home side suffered a further blow when hooker Nathan Vella was carried off on a stretcher with a leg injury to be replaced by Koree Britton. Quins also lost a player through injury with Charlie Matthews departing before a Robinson penalty extended the Welsh lead.

Two minutes before half-time, Quins took the lead for the first time when Hopper's break and neat pass sent Yarde in for the try which Swiel converted for a 12-10 half-time advantage.

Robinson could have put Welsh back in front but missed a penalty but the home side remained the better side in the opening exchanges of the second half.

It was therefore against the run of play when Quins score their third try when Yarde brushed aside some weak tackling to provide Sinckler with an easy run-in.

Robinson kicked a penalty before Quins introduced Care, who ensured his team dominated the final 15 minutes and it was his long pass which created the bonus point try for Williams.


From Belfast Telegraph