Homegrown talent shines as Harlequins kick off season with 40 points and a win
12th Sep 2022 | Rugby
Harlequins kicked off the 2022/23 season with a bonus-point win away to Newcastle this weekend, with a host of homegrown talent impressing alongside returning internationals.
Falcons were the side to kick-off the day's points as hooker George McGuigan dotted down off the back of a driving maul in the 13th minute.
From there Quins claimed the momentum, with South African duo Tyrone Green and Wilco Louw both claiming scores to put Harlequins into a 5-14 lead with 15 minutes to go in the first-half.
A perfect start to the season from the boot for Tommy Allan, with the Italian international slotting both conversions with ease.
While Quins continued to dominate the match, Newcastle claimed two tries against the flow of the fixture to retake the lead.
England wing Adam Radwan scooped up a ball that came loose from a Quins ruck just inside his own half before sprinting in from 60 metres for the first score, with fellow wing Nathan Earle the next man to benefit.
Quins has looked to have manufactured space down the right touchline within the Falcons 22, but an attempted long pass from flanker Will Evans hit turf instead of Nick David's hands, allowing Earle to sprint in from 90+ metres to put Falcons into a 17-15 half-time lead, with fly-half Brett Connon converting Earle's score in his first successful conversion of the day.
A question of a lazy Falcons runner blocking new lock irne Herbst as Quins had looked to score, but no further investigation for the home side just before the half-time break.
Quins wrested momentum from their hosts at the start of the second-half, scoring two tries to retake the lead. The first courtesy of hooker George Head from a driving maul, while the second score saw centre Lennox Anyanwu claim the try of the day.
Anyanwu was the man to start and finish the score, first tracking back to collect a Falcons try in Quins' deadball area, possession was shipped rapidly to Green who evaded a couple of defenders before moving the ball on to wing Nick David, who managed to sprint 60 metres into the Falcons' half before being brought down.
As possession was moved right across the field, Anyanwu spotted the space in behind the Newcastle defence, chipping ahead and collecting the ball to dot down for the score. A stark change to the picture at half-time thanks to the two recent Academy graduates.
Quins had looked to have scored a fifth try through Green, but it was called back for a forward pass within the visitors' half, with Falcons going on to win a scrum penalty and score again from a driving maul.
A fifth try for the hosts saw giant reserve prop Logovi'I Mulipola crash over the line, with Harlequins now trailing 31-28 with 15 minutes left in the game.
Ever the entertainers, the men in the Famous Quarters left it late to snatch a win from the jaws of defeat, with fit-again England number eight Alex Dombrandt on the receiving end of the final pass to retake the lead 31-33.
Returning England centre and homegrown talent Joe Marchant gave Quins a cushion on the scoreboard, with Falcons turning the ball over on their touchline but throwing a wayward pass for Marchant to pounce on and leap into the corner.
No conversion from Allan, but Quins signed off in Newcastle with a 31-40 win in the opening round of the 22/23 season.
A strong start for the Londoners, who head into round two ready to host local rivals Saracens at a sold-out Twickenham Stoop.