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Battling Harlequins fall short

By Rory Poulter

8th Feb 2022 | Local Sport

Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

A tough start for Harlequins saw the visitors make the most of a deleted home team, with Sale wing Tom Roebuck claiming a brace of scores within the first 22 minutes.

With fly-half AJ MacGinty kicking both conversions and an earlier shot at the posts, Quins found themselves leaking penalties and handling errors whilst staring down a 17-0 deficit.

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Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

Harlequins travelled to The Rec looking to extend a seven-match winning streak across all competitions, most recently claiming back-to-back dramatic victories in the Heineken Champions Cup having secured home advantage later in the playoffs.

However, it would be a Bath side with nothing to lose that reversed Quins' fortunes, with a dramatic late win more often than not the running order for the Londoners, not their opponents.

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Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

Hosting the side third in the Top14 table following a gritty away victory in South France earlier this season, Harlequins looked to solidify their spot at the top of Pool B.

The evening could hardly have started worse for the home side, with Castres catching Quins napping early, scoring a penalty within the first 60 seconds before following up with two tries within the first 10 minutes to claim 13 unanswered points. Fortunately for Quins, Castres fly-half Ben Botica missed both conversion attempts.

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Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

Off to a fast start Quins probed early at the Cardiff Arms Park, with Smith finding some early luck stepping inside and accelerating through the Cardiff defence.

Early pressure eventually broke the hosts' defence, with wing Louis Lynagh on the receiving end of a well-weighted cross-field kick from Smith. With work to be done after the catch, Lynagh stepped out to in to evade the defender's attention before accelerating and diving over the line. Smith added the conversion to make Lynagh's score worth the full seven.

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The Big Game is famous for its spectacle. Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

Over 72,000 tickets were issued for Big Game 13 as supporters were treated to a day packed full of entertainment inside and outside the stadium, with DJ Pete Tong performing between the Women's and Men's games, a spectacular lightshow, fairground attractions and much more on show!

Determined to put the dampener in Quins big day Saints struck first at HQ, rumbling towards the line and sending South African number eight Juarno Augustus over the line from short range. Saints fly-half Dan Biggar added the conversion to give the visitors a perfect start.

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Wing Louis Lynagh was the man to reduce the gap again in a one-man effort. Credit: JMP/Juan Gasparini for @harlequins.

Quins kicked-off in the Midlands on Sunday sat fifth place in the table, equal on points at 28 with fourth-placed Exeter Chiefs. Heading to the home of table toppers and the only undefeated side in the league, Harlequins went on the hunt to topple Leicester Tigers at the Mattioli Woods Welford Road Stadium.

Despite best intentions, Quins were the first to concede in the Midlands, with fly-half George Ford kicking a penalty in the eighth minute, opting for the sticks after Tigers captain Ellis Genge lost the ball forward in a promising attacking move for the home side.

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