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Aviva Premiership: Harlequins win to reach play-offs and deny Bath
The destiny of this season's Premier League title will be decided LIVE on Sky Sports this Sunday - just one piece of drama playing out on a wonderful weekend of sport. Add in the Spanish Grand Prix, the Sky Bet Football League play-offs, the Players Championship, La Liga title race and more and Sky Sports is the only place to be. You can upgrade to Sky Sports or buy a day pass through NOW TV to watch all this fantastic live action.
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Harlequins beat Bath 19-16 to snatch the fourth Aviva Premiership play-off spot from their opponents on the final day of the regular season at the Stoop.
The victory is Quins' fifth on the bounce and completes a remarkable comeback for Conor O'Shea's side who have also beaten Exeter, Leicester, Sale and London Irish en route to the knock-outs.
They now face a trip to table-toppers Saracens in the semi-finals.
The home side knew a bonus-point victory would see them jump above Bath as would a victory of any kind so long as the visitors were restricted to one bonus point or less.
Mike Brown gave the hosts a dream start with an early try but his effort was cancelled out by George Ford's excellent solo effort and it was only Nick Evans' penalty that gave Quins a 10-7 lead at the break.
The second period became a battle of the kickers as Matt Banahan's yellow card prompted Quins to take a 16-10 lead and three penalties - two from Ford - left the home side just three points ahead with 10 minutes to play.
Bath pressed and probed in the dying moments, eager to find an opening, but Ford's desperate drop-goal attempt fell short and confirmed Quins' place in the semi-finals.
Both sides started nervously but Ford seemed at ease from the outset as he made his first dart through the Quins back-line in the 12th minute only to see his kick through blocked by Brown.
The home side started to find some rhythm and just after the quarter-hour mark scored the first try of the game as Danny Care flung a superb looping pass out to Brown who slid over in the corner.
Evans converted from just inside the left touchline to put Harlequins 7-0 ahead.
The lead lasted less than five minutes, though, as Ford scored a brilliant solo try, weaving his way through a hesitant Harlequins defence to go over before adding a simple conversion to make it 7-7.
Moments later, the home side thought they had restored their advantage as Care broke through Leroy Houston's tackle before releasing a clever one-handed pass to Easter who touched down.
Referee Wayne Barnes suspected a forward pass however and after referring the decision to TMO, the try was ruled out.
A simpler chance to move ahead was spurned in the 32nd minute when Evans missed a straightforward penalty.
The Quins fly-half made no mistake moments later, adding three points from close-range to put the hosts 10-7 ahead at half-time.
Bath pegged their opponents back just five minutes after the break as Ford converted a simple penalty but it could have been more moments earlier when Nick Abendanon broke through but was felled just short.
The visitors were reduced to 14 soon after as Banahan was shown a yellow card and Quins almost took advantage immediately as an excellent turnover put Brown through but the England full-back was blocked by Ford.
Evans put his side back in front with his second successful penalty and extended the gap to 16-10 with another kick from the tee before the hour.
Three more penalties, two for Ford and one for Evans, made the score 19-16 with 10 minutes to play as both teams tightened up, desperate not to make a mistake that could swing the contest in their opponents' favour.
Bath patiently retained possession in the final minutes as they looked to create an opening but as the clock ticked past the 80-minute mark, Ford's missed drop-goal attempt ensured it was Quins who would progress to the play-offs.
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|Friday 27th March|
|19:45||Northampton vs Wasps|
|Saturday 28th March|
|15:00||London Irish vs Newcastle Falcons|
|15:00||Leicester Tigers vs Exeter|
|15:15||Saracens vs Harlequins|
|Sunday 29th March|
|14:00||Sale Sharks vs Gloucester|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Bath|
|Friday 10th April|
|19:45||Newcastle vs Bath|
|Saturday 11th April|
|15:00||Harlequins vs Gloucester|
|15:15||Saracens vs Leicester|
|Sunday 12th April|
|14:00||Exeter vs Northampton|
|14:30||London Welsh vs Wasps|
|15:00||London Irish vs Sale|
|Friday 24th April|
|19:45||Bath vs London Irish|
|Saturday 25th April|
|14:00||Sale vs Harlequins|
|15:00||Gloucester vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Leicester vs London Welsh|
|15:15||Northampton vs Saracens|
|Sunday 26th April|
|14:00||Wasps vs Exeter|
|Friday 8th May|
|19:45||Harlequins vs Bath|
|Saturday 9th May|
|14:00||Sale vs Newcastle|
|15:00||Northampton vs London Welsh|
|15:00||Gloucester vs London Irish|
|15:15||Wasps vs Leicester Tigers|
|Sunday 10th May|
|14:00||Saracens vs Exeter|
|Saturday 16th May|
|15:30||Exeter vs Sale|
|Sunday 8th March|
|Newcastle Falcons 12 - 16 Leicester Tigers|
|Wasps 17 - 26 Saracens|
|Saturday 7th March|
|Gloucester 33 - 33 Northampton|
|Exeter 74 - 19 London Welsh|
|Harlequins 26 - 20 London Irish|
|Friday 6th March|
|Bath 12 - 3 Sale Sharks|
|Sunday 1st March|
|Wasps 32 - 21 Gloucester|
|Saturday 28th February|
|Exeter 16 - 6 Bath|
|Saracens 22 - 17 Newcastle Falcons|
|Leicester Tigers 28 - 8 Sale Sharks|
|London Welsh 12 - 50 London Irish|
|Friday 27th February|
|Northampton 17 - 13 Harlequins|
|Sunday 22nd February|
|London Irish 6 - 12 Leicester Tigers|
|Saturday 21st February|
|Bath 13 - 21 Northampton|
|Harlequins 21 - 32 Exeter|
|Gloucester 48 - 10 London Welsh|
|Sale Sharks 14 - 10 Saracens|
|Friday 20th February|
|Newcastle 23 - 23 Wasps|
|Sunday 15th February|
|Wasps 37 - 6 Harlequins|
|London Welsh 12 - 52 Sale|
|Saracens 34 - 24 Bath|
|Saturday 14th February|
|Exeter 46 - 17 Newcastle|
|Friday 13th February|
|Leicester 18 - 15 Gloucester|
|Northampton 15 - 9 London Irish|
Read the thoughts and opinions of Phil Edwards with skysports.com