Aviva Premiership: Harlequins withstand London Welsh fightback to move top
Last Updated: 06/01/13 5:39pm
Ollie Lindsay Hague: Makes a break for Harlequins against London Welsh
Harlequins reclaimed top spot in the Aviva Premiership following a nervy 31-26 bonus-point victory over London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.
Quins looked destined for the points when leading 21-3 in the early stages, only for Welsh to launch an inspired fightback after the break.
England duo Danny Care and Chris Robshaw were among the try-scorers for Quins, who now move two points clear of Saracens at the top of the table.
Quins signalled their attacking intentions from the start as Ollie Lindsay-Hague fielded the kick-off deep inside his own 22 before setting off a sweeping movement which took the visitors into the home 22. George Lowe and Nick Evans both made vital contributions to the movement but an over-ambitious pass from Care prevented Quins from opening the scoring.
But with 15 minutes gone the visitors took the lead with an individual try from Care. The scrum-half brushed aside some very weak Welsh tackling to run 15 metres for the score, Evans adding the conversion.
The visitors threatened the Welsh defence almost at will and they soon extended their lead with a second try; Sam Smith did the spadework with a weaving run to create the score for Lowe, which Evans again converted.
Welsh were dealt another blow when lock Kirill Kulemin was shown a yellow card for a high tackle on Evans, but they got on the scoreboard when Gordon Ross kicked a penalty after Quins were penalised at a scrum.
Kulemin returned but only in time to see his side concede a third try when Robshaw barged over from close range. Evans converted again, but a second penalty from Ross made it 21-6 to the visitors at half-time.
Welsh declined two kickable penalties in favour of more attacking options after the break but when awarded two more, Ross made no mistake with both to make it a 21-12 scoreline going into the final quarter.
Quins were shaken but their nerves were calmed when Evans was successful with a penalty as Welsh committed another offence at a scrum.
Back came the hosts, however, collecting their first try when Nick Scott cleverly dummied over for the score, which Ross converted to reduce the gap to only five points.
With 13 minutes remaining Quins made the game safe with their bonus-point try, as Evans finished off some neat inter-passing with the outside-half converting for a match tally of 16 points.
Ed Jackson's interception try - converted by Ross - brought Welsh back within an unconverted try of Quins, but the visitors held on in a frenetic finish which also featured yellow cards for Quins lock George Robson and Welsh prop James Tideswell.