Ugo Monye leads the way as Premiership champions Harlequins topple London Welsh
By Tony Curtis - Follow me on Twitter: @SkysportsTC. Last Updated: 07/09/12 9:31pm
Defending champions Harlequins were at their clinical best as they thumped Aviva Premiership new-boys London Welsh 40-3.
Quins, fresh from their dramatic comeback win over Wasps in the opening weekend, never looked back from a lightning start.
The Exiles had barely touched the ball in the opening exchanges as Conor O'Shea's side stormed into a 14-0 lead - and although they gradually settled, there was never any danger of a Quins-esque fightback.
In fact Welsh were guilty of committing too many players to the breakdown, while they lacked the cutting edge to break down Quins.
Ugo Monye, back in the side after missing the 42-40 victory over Wasps through injury, led the way for the hosts with two tries, while George Robson (2), George Lowe and Ben Botica also crossed.
Fly-half Nick Evans, who is weighing up offers to move to France and Japan when his contract expires in the spring, added five conversions.
Welsh, for whom Gavin Henson cannot return soon enough, managed just a penalty from former Scotland No.10 Gordon Ross.
And the yellow carding of the Romania prop Paulica Ion and then full-back Tom Arscott rubbed salt into the Welsh wounds.
Harlequins made the perfect start to the match when Robson crossed with ease after three minutes, with Jordan Turner-Hall having made the initial hard yards. Evans converted.
Worse was to follow for the visitors as the Welsh defence was again dragged in by a series of Quins drives, creating the space for Monye to stroll over. Evans added the extras to make it 14-0 after eight minutes.
Despite the early setback, the Exiles began to string the phases together and settle into the game - with Arscott, Neil Briggs and Hudson Tonga'uiha looking a threat.
A big hit from Tonga'uiha on Monye underlined the improvement and Welsh were rewarded for their efforts with a penalty through Ross.
However a mistake from Joe Ajuwa opened the door for Quins again, with Monye crossing untouched once again as the Exiles defence went missing. Evans added his third conversion of the night.
The second half continued in the same vain with Quins quickly onto the front foot - and Welsh's hopes were not helped by Ion's sin-bin.
And Quins finally clinched the bonus point as Robson claimed the try after Mike Brown was initially held up over the line. Evans converted.
Lowe added the fifth try as he collected Brown's little chip ahead, with Evans making no mistake with the extras.
Welsh were forced to finish the game with 14 men when Arscott was yellow carded with five minutes left - and Quins took full advantage as Botica scored on his debut.
Sat 16th May
Bath50 - 30Gloucester
Exeter44 - 16Sale Sharks
Leicester Tigers22 - 14Northampton
London Irish40 - 40Wasps
London Welsh17 - 68Saracens
Newcastle Falcons37 - 21Harlequins
Sat 23rd May - Semi Final
Northampton0 - 0Saracens
Bath0 - 0Leicester Tigers