Legend Care claims century as Harlequins win at Sixways
By Rory Poulter
1st Mar 2022 | Local Sport
Harlequins secured their third-place spot in the Gallagher Premiership this weekend with a bonus-point win at Sixways Stadium under the Friday night lights. The first time the Londoners had won away to Worcester in the league since 2016.
Despite early efforts, two knock-ons in contact by young lock Hugh Tizard, paired with some nifty breakdown work from Worcester's Tongan number eight Sione Vailanu, put paid to any chance of an early Quins score, with Oscar Beard and Tyrone Green threatening in the wider channels with some deadly footwork.
A pumped-up Worcester side were the first to get on the scoreboard, splitting open the Quins defence as a Danny Care box-kick was charged down in the midfield.
Worcester took possession and muscled their way up to within five metres of the line, eventually sending a wide pass for fullback Noah Heward to wrestle his way over the line. Fly-half Fin Smith added the extra two to make it a full seven-point start for the Warriors.
Set-piece dominance provided Quins with points of their own 24 minutes in. With prop Simon Kerrod winning the penalty at the scrum Quins kicked for a lineout deep within the Worcester 22, playing off the top and sending the ball out to fly-half Will Edwards.
Edwards pinged a cross-field kick out left that was originally at risk of being scooped up by the Warriors' backline, only for the spinning ball to ricochet into the hands of fullback Tyrone Green. Fast reactions from the South African saw Quins into the game with a first try of the day. Edwards added the extras to bring the scores level.
Legendary scrum-half Danny Care set a new record as Quins took the lead for the first time of the day, with the 84-times capped England man becoming the first player to score 100 tries for Harlequins.
A fractured period of play saw Quins' runners battle their way to the Worcester line, with Care eventually spotting the gap - as he so often has over the last two decades - to snipe for Quins' second score. Edwards slotted his second kick of the day to secure a seven-point lead.
Worcester denied Quins the chance to head into the changing room at half-time with a lead, with centre Oli Morris cutting down the left wing to provide field position in the lead up to their second try.
After attempting to force their way over in the right corner, Worcester took the ball to the centre of the pitch, sending Vailanu through a gap in the Quins defence to crash over for what would be a levelling score once Smith added his second conversion just before the break.
Number eight Archie White was the man to break the deadlock with half an hour left in the game. After a potential scoring opportunity seemed to go begging with a Huw Jones offload failing to hit its target Quins launched a second attack, with Andre Esterhuizen making hard yards through the Warriors defence.
With momentum sending the Worcester defence backwards Edwards sent a two-man miss pass out to White down the right touchline.
Far from an easy run-in, White stepped inside the first defender before riding the tackles of two more Worcester men to secure Quins' third try. Edwards' conversion was dragged left, leaving Quins with a five-point lead.
The travelling Londoners were struck a potentially deadly blow soon after White's score, with the Prem champions reduced to 14 men after Care was shown a yellow card by referee Cristophe Ridley for what was deemed a deliberate knock-on having gone for the intercept.
Worcester had looked to make the most of their one-man advantage as Vailanu crashed over from short-range following a Worcester maul deep in Quins' red zone, only for the number eight to have lost the ball forward following a TMO review. A fortunate handling error for the visitors.
With over ten minutes of reserve fly-half Tommy Allan playing scrum-half in a 14-man Quins side, the Italian international was able to extend the lead with the first penalty kick of the day. As Care returned to the field from his spell on the naughty step, Quins headed into the final ten minutes with an eight-point advantage.
After a sensational Matas Jurevicus score was ruled out after a lengthy TMO review – with the Academy man poaching the ball from the top of a Worcester maul and charging to the line 20 metres out – openside flanker and eventual Player of the Match Tom Lawday claimed Quins' fourth and bonus-point securing try after a number of short-range efforts. An Allan conversion gave Quins a 15-point lead with only three minutes left on the clock.
It would, however, be the home side that had the last words for the day. Launching one final attack, Worcester's young backs conspired down the left touchline with some clever interplay that would see inside centre Seb Atkinson claim a third try for the day.
Sat third in the table ahead of Round 19 of the Gallagher Premiership next week, it's Newcastle Falcons under the Friday night lights once again for Quins.
Final score: Worcester Warriors 21-29 Harlequins