Connect with us


MATCH REPORT: Harlequins 26, London Irish 30



Harlequins 26, London Irish 30

It was action under the Wednesday night lights for the latest London derby clash between Harlequins and London Irish, as the two sides battled it out in Round 1 of the Premiership Rugby Cup.

It was the Exiles who dented the scoreboard first, debutant Patrick Harrison shoving his way over the try line from the back of a rolling maul. A penalty in the middle of the pitch gave Rory Jennings the chance to kick to the corner, and the forward pack did the rest. Jennings’ conversion effort was missed, but Irish took an early 0-5 lead.

It wasn’t long before the Exiles grabbed their second of the night. Italy international Luca Morisi burst down the wing before passing inside to Michael Dykes and the winger sprinted 20 metres to dot down. This time, Jennings’ conversion sailed through, and the fly-half extended the lead to 0-12.

With 10 minutes on the clock, Hugh O’Sullivan got his turn to slide over for five points. Jennings made the initial break to take Irish into the visitors’ 22m, before a neat offload from the floor to O’Sullivan, with the latter strolling to the line. The conversion was missed, but the 0-17 scoreboard reflected what was an impressive opening 10 minutes for the young Exiles side.

Harlequins then threatened through Cassius Cleaves, but a brave last-ditch tackle from full-back Logan Trotter halted the attack, with Irish winning a scrum following a knock on.

The hosts enjoyed a substantial amount of time with the ball in hand and started to apply pressure on the Exiles’ try line. But, to their credit, the Irish defence held firm to prevent Harlequins getting their first points of the game.  

However, some minutes later, the pressure eventually rewarded Harlequins with their first try of the evening as Jonny Green powered over from close range. After Will Edwards’ successful conversion, the deficit was cut to 7-17.

A handful of tightly contested phases of plays then followed, but at the half-time whistle it remained 7-17 in London Irish’s favour.

Like in the first half, it was Irish who were the first team to register points in the second half. A penalty in front of the posts was popped through by Jennings to extend the Exiles’ lead by three after Harlequins were penalised for not rolling away from a tackle.

The first try of the second half went to Will Edwards after some quick feet from the Harlequins’ fly-half. Edwards converted his own try to cut the lead to 14-20.

Irish were quick to respond with their fourth and bonus point try! Ben Atkins broke down the wing before passing inside to Trotter. The full-back delayed his 2 v 1 pass to perfection and Harmes fended off the last covering defender to slide over. After the successful conversion, Irish’s lead was pushed to 14-27.

Strong running from Trotter and Tom Hitchcock pushed Irish close to the Harlequins try line, but the hosts slowed down the play illegally. Jennings slotted the resulting penalty through the uprights and the Exiles led 14-30 with 18 minutes to play.

Only a matter of moments later, Sam Riley score in the corner for the hosts. The replacement hooker slipped off from a rolling maul to touch down close to the whitewash. The conversion was missed, so the lead was cut to 19-30.

Irish were then caught on the back foot just minutes later, with the hosts reacting quicker to an unclaimed highball. Cleaves was the man to grab the loose ball and sprinted clear to score. The conversion was made, and, in a flash, the lead was reduced to a four-point gap.

With 10 minutes to go, the game was hanging in the balance.

Quins pressured in the Exiles’ half, but Hitchcock sniped in midfield to intercept and sprint off into the hosts’ 22m. The resulting pass was gathered by Harlequins, but, importantly, it relieved pressure.

Irish secured the victory after a knock on from Quins allowed Hugh O’Sullivan to punt the ball gently into the stands and bring a close to what was a frenetic 80 minutes of Premiership Rugby Cup action!

Score sequence (London Irish second): 0-5, 0-12, 0-17, 7-17, 7-20, 14-20, 14-27, 14-30, 19-30, 26-30

Harlequins: Tries: Green (31) Edwards (53) Riley (65) Cleaves (68) Conversions: Edwards (32) (54) (68)

London Irish: Tries: Harrison (5), Dykes (7), O’Sullivan (10), Harmes (56) Conversions: Jennings (8), (57) Penalties: Jennings (46), (62),

15 Connor Slevin, 14 Ross Chisholm, 13 Hayden Hyde (Benson, 33), 12 Bryn Bradley, 11 Cassius Cleaves, 10 Will Edwards, 9 Jack Stafford, 1 Santiago Garcia Botta (Fin Baxter, 53), 2 Jack Musk (Sam riley, 53), 3 Rhys Litterick (Will Hobson, 53), 4 Charlie Matthews (c), 5 Jonny Green, 6 Zach Carr (Smith, 60), 7 Will Trenholm, 8 Viliami Taulani.

16 Sam Riley, 17 Fin Baxter, 18 Will Hobson, 19 Tom Golder, 20 Jonny Smith, 21 Jake Murray, 22 Jamie Benson, 23 Conor Oresanya.

London Irish:
15 Logan Trotter, 14 Alex Harmes (Walsh, 60), 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Tom Hitchcock, 11 Michael Dykes (Bradbury, 62), 10 Rory Jennings, 9 Hugh O’Sullivan, 1 Tarek Haffar (Parker, 62), 2 Patrick Harrison (Scott, 62), 3 Mikey Summerfield (Fasogbon, 76), 4 Ed Scragg (Chapman, 66) , 5 Chunya Munga, 6 Jack Cooke (c), 7 Isaac Curtis-Harris (Moore-Aiono, 57), 8 Ben Atkins.

16 Calum Scott, 17 Jamie Jack, 18 Afo Fasogbon, 19 Hallam Chapman, 20 Izaiha Moore-Aiono, 21 Ollie Allan, 22 Monty Bradbury, 23 Jack Walsh.

Referee: Mr Joe James


Content & Images from – London Irish Rugby





Sale Sharks have agreed a deal to sign Fiji captain Waisea Nayacalevu from French Top14 side Toulon. 

The explosive centre, who starred for his country during the recent World Cup, has signed a one-year contract with an option for a further year. 

He will join up with Alex Sanderson’s Sharks squad ahead of the start of the 2024/25 Gallagher Premiership season. 

Waisea, 33, said: “I’ve watched the Premiership for a long time and it’s always been in the back of my mind that I would love to play there one day and experience rugby in England. 

“Now that opportunity has arrived and I’m really, really happy and grateful. I’m so excited to get over there and join the boys and see how I can contribute to the team. 

“I have spoken to Telusa Veainu and he only has positive things to say about the club and about Manchester. 

“I’m looking forward to playing with some of the guys I’ve played against, like Tom Curry and George Ford. But I also know there are a lot of really talented young players in the Sale Sharks squad and I’m excited to share my experience and help them develop as much as I can.  

“I told Alex that it’s what I’ve been doing for the last few years of my career and it’s something I’m passionate about.” 

Nayacalevu, who stands at 6’4” and weighs in at 16st 7lb, spent ten years at Top14 side Stade Français before making the switch to Toulon in 2022.  

He has won 34 caps for Fiji, slotting in at both centre and on the wing, and captained his country at last year’s World Cup, where the Pacific Islanders made the quarter-finals, losing 30-24 to England in Marseille. 

He also famously scored for Fiji in their memorable pre-World Cup win against England at Twickenham. 

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

Continue Reading


Falcons star to join Saracens



Phil Brantingham to join Saracens

Tuesday 05 March 2024 Written by: Tom Grisedale

Prop-forward Phil Brantingham will leave Newcastle Falcons in the summer to join Saracens.

The 22-year-old has played 25 games for his home town club, and leaves with the thanks and best wishes of everyone at the Falcons.

Chairman of rugby Matt Thompson said: “Phil has done well for us and we made him a good offer to stay here.

“We respect his decision and wish him all the best for his move in the summer, but between now and then he will be fully committed to finishing the season strongly for Newcastle Falcons.”

Source – Newcastle Falcons Rugby

Continue Reading





Sale Sharks can confirm that forward Cobus Wiese will leave the club at the end of the season to return to South Africa. 

The 26-year-old lock has played almost 80 games for the club and scored five tries since joining from the DHL Stormers ahead of the 2020/21 season. 

He played a key role last year as Sale reached the Premiership final, and this season he has featured a further 13 times for Alex Sanderson’s side. 

Alex said: “Cobus will be missed by all of us on so many levels. He’s the most polite and courteous of people off the field, but the most wildly excitable man on the field, and on a night out. 

“To say Cobus wears his heart on his sleeve is to do him a disservice with regards to his emotional commitment for which his body has paid the price on occasion.  

“He leads by example and has earnt the respect and adoration of the group both on a professional and a personal level. We wish him every success and happiness with his move back home.” 

Everyone at Sale Sharks would like to thank Cobus for his contribution to the club and the team during his time here and we wish him all the very best for the future.  

Images & Content from Sale Sharks Rugby

Continue Reading