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Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Quins' hot start continues

Harlequins continued their best start with to a season with a 13th consecutive win in all competitions, brushing Newcastle aside 39-8 in the Aviva Premiership.

It took the London club nine points clear of second-placed Saracens, with wing Seb Stegmann scoring two of their five tries.

Defeat kept Newcastle anchored to the foot of the table, nine points adrift of Worcester.

A Nick Evans penalty was all Quins had to show for some good early pressure but the opposition defence cracked badly when Stegmann attacked up the right wing. He lacked support but managed to break poor tackles by Alex Tait, Jamie Helleur and Chris Pilgrim to score by the flag. Evans added the conversion.

Newcastle hit back after 34 minutes following a scorching break by Jimmy Gopperth. Jeremy Manning took the pass and cut a fine line to bisect Stegmann and Mike Brown before forcing the ball down on the line.

Danny Care restored the 10-point margin two minutes from half-time. Sam Smith broke up the left and passed inside to Jordan Turner-Hall who, despite being well-tackled by James Fitzpatrick, armed Care to score in the corner. This time Evans' conversion attempt went wide.

Tim Swinson was sin-binned and the Falcons fought bravely but when Matt Hopper was then dismissed it proved the breaking point as Quins kicked their penalty to touch, won the lineout and 13-man Newcastle could not prevent Luke Wallace from crossing their line, Evans adding the extra points.

Gopperth kicked his first goal in the 58th minute after Joe Marler tackled him late but the visitors were back under pressure straight from the restart. Brown was again the main threat, starting and finishing the move. His darting break created a five-man move that ended with the full-back twisting over on the left after 65 minutes to claim the fourth-try bonus point.

Newcastle were energetic right to the finish, but only in search of pride and even that took yet another dent when Quins broke out from close to their line before surging up the right where the ball was kicked on. It did not seem possible that Newcastle would be beaten to the ball, but Stegmann turned on the gas and grabbed his second try.

James Johnston wrapped things up with the sixth try seconds from time.

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