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Aviva Premiership: Harlequins claim bonus point at Newcastle Falcons
- Saturday's Aviva Prem preview
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Harlequins returned to the top four of the Aviva Premiership with a 35-9 bonus-point victory over Newcastle at Kingston Park.
Despite being just seven points behind at the break, Newcastle's lack of cutting edge was painfully obvious - they have scored only three tries in the Premiership this season - and they were handed a lesson in finishing by Quins.
It was hugely disappointing for Newcastle's biggest home crowd of the season when they conceded a soft opening try after just nine minutes when hooker Dave Ward, who was also a huge influence, cut back inside and brushed off Will Welch's ineffectual tackle and shipped the ball to Tom Williams, who had no problem evading Alex Tait for a score converted by Nick Evans.
Evans and Phil Godman exchanged penalties for offside in midfield and Nick Cato would have been away had he managed to hang on to an attempted interception, but Newcastle were very much on the back foot.
Another Evans penalty, when Carlo Del Fava transgressed, made it 13-3 after 25 minutes and Godman missed an easy chance four minutes later.
He kicked a much more difficult penalty three minutes later to keep Newcastle in touch, but the Falcons were under constant pressure from Danny Care's sniping and bustling number eight Tom Guest's gutsy running, plus the uncompromising contributions of Ward and skipper Nick Easter.
However, Newcastle did end the half on the front foot with a dominant scrum to force a penalty and then some excellent pick and drives with Ally Hogg, making his 100th appearance, and Welch in the van.
Scott Lawson carried it on but the move ended with the ball being spilled in the Quins' 22 right on half-time.
If Newcastle hoped for a better start to the second half they were again disappointed when wing Sam Smith scored inside a minute of the restart. Evans cut back inside and from the recycle it was simply a matter of fast hands for the winger to go over in the corner.
Evans missed the conversion but landed a 47th-minute penalty to cancel out Godman's 43rd-minute strike and at 21-9 Newcastle were really chasing the game.
Ryan Shortland's powerful run briefly raised Newcastle's hopes but Quins were out of sight 16 minutes into the second half when Care fed Smith who hit the line at pace, made it available at the ruck and Care snapped it up to dart through for a try, Evans converting for 28-9.
Cato, Tait and Warren Fury set up a promising attack but Hogg's floated pass to the wing cleared everyone into touch, much to the crowd's disappointment.
They were disappointed again when Newcastle spurned a kick at goal to go for the corner, but not for the first time, the Falcons overthrew at the line-out and the chance was wasted.
Quins collected the try bonus point in the 68th minute when James Fitzpatrick lost the ball in contact on the 22 and Guest snapped it up and offloaded to Smith, who surged away on a 60 metre run for his second try converted by Evans.
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|Friday 19th December|
|Sale Sharks 18 - 11 Exeter|
|Sunday 30th November|
|Newcastle Falcons 13 - 18 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 14 - 43 Northampton|
|London Irish 9 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 29th November|
|Exeter 27 - 19 Saracens|
|Leicester Tigers 18 - 16 Wasps|
|Friday 28th November|
|Bath 25 - 6 Harlequins|
|Sunday 23rd November|
|London Welsh 5 - 26 Leicester Tigers|
|Saracens 24 - 31 Northampton|
|Saturday 22nd November|
|London Irish 23 - 33 Bath|
|Exeter 31 - 15 Wasps|
|Friday 21st November|
|Newcastle Falcons 20 - 10 Gloucester|
|Harlequins 12 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 16th November|
|Wasps 71 - 7 London Welsh|
|Leicester Tigers 21 - 21 Saracens|
|Saturday 15th November|
|Bath 23 - 14 Newcastle Falcons|
|Sale Sharks 36 - 8 London Irish|
|Friday 14th November|
|Gloucester 15 - 22 Harlequins|
|Northampton 18 - 24 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com