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RUGBY UNION: Welsh run ragged by champions
12:00am Saturday 8th September 2012 in Sport
Oxford-based London Welsh suffered their second defeat in two games as they were outclassed 40-3 by reigning champions Harlequins at The Stoop last night.
Ugo Monye and George Robson scored two tries each as Quins cruised to a bonus-point victory over London Welsh in the Twickenham-Richmond derby.
George Lowe touched down for Harlequins’ fifth try and replacement fly-half Ben Botica marked his Aviva Premiership debut with a late score off the bench, while Nick Evans kicked 10 points.
This result followed the Exiles’ 38-13 reverse at home Leicester Tigers in their Premiership debut at The Kassam Stadium , Oxford last Sunday.
After the fireworks of Harlequins’ Premiership record comeback victory over Wasps at Twickenham last week, this was a far more routine win.
London Welsh, who managed a sole penalty from fly-half Gordon Ross, have had a brutal introduction to the demands of the Premiership.
By the time London Welsh got close to the pace of the match, Harlequins had surged into a 21-3 lead with two tries from Monye after Robson had crashed over in the fifth minute.
Evans, the architect of Harlequins’ record turnaround at Twickenham, chipped in behind the London Welsh defence for Lowe who slipped the pass to Jordan Turner-Hall.
Mike Brown was screaming for the ball on the outside but Turner-Hall kept hold of it, Quins recycled and Robson scored from close range to get Harlequins off to a perfect start.
Four minutes later, Harlequins were in again. Tom Guest’s charge splintered the London Welsh defence but turned the wrong way and again missed the chance to send Brown screaching away.
London Welsh conceded a kickable penalty, but Harlequins went for touch and built the pressure from the lineout and Evans spun a long pass out to Monye for the try.
The Exiles temporarily halted the one-way traffic with a ferocious tackle from centre Hudson Tong’uiha on Monye to win a penalty and edge into Harlequins territory.
Full-back Tom Arscott then cut a sensational line through a clutch of players and when Harlequins were penalised for offside, Gordon Ross kicked London Welsh on to the scoreboard.
The respite was temporary for Welsh. Joe Ajuwa made a hash of a high ball and Monye pounced, setting another Quins attack in motion before receiving it back for another simple finish.
The visitors went into the break trailing by 18 points.
Quins upped the tempo straight after the interval with a powerful carry from Chris Robshaw.
London Welsh prop Paulica Ion was sin-binned for preventing a quick tap penalty.
Harlequins took advantage of London Welsh being short-handed with Robson scoring his second try of the evening from close range to earn the try bonus point.
Brown launched another attack from deep and was taken out off the ball after chipping ahead, but referee Luke Pearce waved play on and Lowe followed it up to score.
Evans landed his fifth conversion of the evening before making way for Botica, the son of former Wigan and New Zealand rugby league player Frano, who rounded off a comfortable Harlequins win with a late try.
Harlequins : Brown; Williams, Lowe, Turner-Hall, Monye; Evans, Dickson; Marler, Gray, Johnston; Kohn, Robson; Fa’asavalu, Robshaw (capt), Guest. Replacements: Buchanan, Marfo, Sinckler, Matthews, Easter, Care, Botica, Hopper.
London Welsh: Arscott; Mackenzie, Parker, Tonga’uiha, Ajuwa: Ross, Keats; Montanella, Briggs, Ion; Mills (capt), Corker; Browne, Denbee, Jackson. Replacements: George, Bristow, Joly, Kulemin, To'oala, Runciman, Jewell, Scott.