Harlequins fall to defeat against local rivals London Irish in Brentford this weekend
30th Jan 2023 | Local Sport
Despite the result, Quins displayed gritty resolve throughout the afternoon, scoring four tries in defeat to claim an all-important bonus point.
The afternoon got off to a tough start for the travelling Quins, with Irish striking twice within the first seven minutes to establish a 14-point lead.
Quins came tearing back into the game, with Irish conceding a yellow card and penalty try after winger Michael Dykes slapped down a try-scoring pass.
It was a rough few minutes for Harlequins following the try, with Captain Stephan Lewies shown a red card for making contact to the head of Irish number eight Chandler Cunningham-South in the 21st minute, down to fourteen men for the rest of the match.
Despite the one-man disadvantage, Quins struck with a second try in the 27th minute to send Tommy Allan over after winger Nick David cut clean through the Irish line.
Playing with real heart and plenty of threat despite their one-man advantage, Quins were unable to make it to the break without conceding a fourth try, with Dykes claiming his second try in the final seconds of the half. Jackson added the conversion to take his side to a 16-point lead at the break.
Irish struck for their fifth try four minutes into the second-half after scrum-half Ben White snuck through a gap at the back of a ruck, offloading to Dykes to dot down for his hat-trick score. Jackson added the extras to make it 35-12.
Esterhuizen and Bassett combined to burst the Irish defence open and attempt to chip down Irish's lead. Bursting through the line off the back of an attacking lineout, Springbok Esterhuizen broke clean through before drawing the final defender well enough to send Bassett over for Quins' third try. With no conversion, Irish held an 18-point lead with 26 minutes left on the clock.
Steely resolve saw Quins continue to break down the Irish defence despite playing with fewer men. This time it was dynamic lock Dino Lamb, punching his way over from short range to claim Quins' fourth for the bonus point, with Allan's conversion reducing the hosts' lead to nine points after an hour played.
They say it's the hope that kills you… Quins were quickly forced to swap focus from attack to defence as London Irish set up camp within the 22 with a handful of lineout maul drives. The pressure told eventually, with Joe Marler shown a yellow card as Quins were reduced to 13 men.
Irish eventually claimed their points once another set of attacking plays took them into the Harlequins half, with openside flanker Tom Pearson diving over for the score this time. Jackson added the extras, taking Irish back beyond two scores at 42-24.
Harlequins were defiant until the end, with the match finishing with a TMO check on a potential fifth score. Sadly, the score did not stand.
Defeat in the London derby saw Quins drop to sixth in the table with 32 points, with the try bonus point keeping the team ahead of seventh-placed Irish in the table at 31 points.