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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 13th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Gloucester|
|19:45||Northampton vs London Irish|
|Saturday 14th February|
|16:30||Exeter vs Newcastle|
|Sunday 15th February|
|13:00||Saracens vs Bath|
|14:00||Wasps vs Harlequins|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Sale|
|Friday 20th February|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Wasps|
|Saturday 21st February|
|14:00||Sale vs Saracens|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Exeter|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Bath vs Northampton|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|14:00||London Irish vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th February|
|19:45||Leicester vs Sale|
|19:45||Northampton vs Harlequins|
|Saturday 28th February|
|14:30||London Welsh vs London Irish|
|15:00||Saracens vs Newcastle|
|15:15||Exeter vs Bath|
|Sunday 1st March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Gloucester|
|Friday 6th March|
|19:45||Bath vs Sale|
|Saturday 7th March|
|15:00||Exeter vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Harlequins vs London Irish|
|15:15||Gloucester vs Northampton|
|Sunday 8th March|
|14:00||Wasps vs Saracens|
|15:00||Newcastle vs Leicester|
|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Sunday 11th January|
|London Irish 28 - 26 Exeter|
|Newcastle 38 - 7 London Welsh|
|Saturday 10th January|
|Harlequins 32 - 12 Leicester|
|Bath 39 - 26 Wasps|
|Sale Sharks 20 - 7 Northampton|
|Friday 9th January|
|Gloucester 24 - 23 Saracens|
|Sunday 4th January|
|London Welsh 13 - 24 Harlequins|
|Wasps 41 - 16 Sale Sharks|
|Leicester 17 - 8 Bath|
|Saturday 3rd January|
|Exeter 25 - 26 Gloucester|
|Saracens 22 - 6 London Irish|
|Friday 2nd January|
|Northampton 39 - 31 Newcastle|
|Sunday 28th December|
|Gloucester 23 - 30 Wasps|
|Saturday 27th December|
|Harlequins 25 - 30 Northampton|
|Newcastle 23 - 25 Saracens|
|Bath 31 - 14 Exeter|
|Sale Sharks 30 - 32 Leicester|
|Friday 26th December|
|London Irish 24 - 9 London Welsh|
|Sunday 21st December|
|Wasps 48 - 16 London Irish|
|Saturday 20th December|
|Gloucester 16 - 39 Bath|
|Northampton 23 - 19 Leicester|
|Saracens 78 - 7 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 15 - 7 Newcastle|
|Friday 19th December|
|Sale 18 - 11 Exeter|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com