Harlequins 52, London Welsh 0

London Welsh’s horrific start to the Avivia Premiership season shows no sign of improving after another hammering on Saturday.

And after fellow-strugglers Newcastle Falcons recorded their first win of the campaign at home to Exeter Chiefs yesterday, the Exiles are now four points adrift at the foot of the table.

The two sides go head to head at the Kassam Stadium on Saturday in a match that even at this early stage of the season, looks absolutely critical to Welsh’s prospects of retaining their top-flight status.

Whatever honourable steps forward the Exiles took against Gloucester, they took a giant one backwards at the hands of a Harlequins side allowed to regain their self-belief after a stuttering start to the season of their own.

  • Latest Sport news

Quins led 17-0 at the break – a lead built on the back of a dominant scrum – and Marland Yarde’s try two minutes in to the second half set the tone.

Matt Hopper, Yarde, Dickson and a penalty try capped a comprehensive win for the home side.

Quins dominated the scrum and when they let their backs have the ball in just the fourth minute, Nick Evans ghosted through a gap and released Brown to go over.

Evans added the extras and another Exiles disastrous start was complete.

The home side’s second try, though, wasn’t too long in coming, with Welsh undone up their middle when Aseli Tikoirotuma burst through before finding the fast-arriving Care to cross. Evans converted.

Welsh looked for a response and twice in quick succession turned down an easy three points in front of the posts, preferring instead to go for the corner and greater reward.

Brown’s path to collect his own chip – comfortably read and gathered by Barkley – was deemed to have been blocked by Ollie Stedman, and Evans extended the Quins lead to 17-0.

The Exiles needed a big second half, but hopes of that were dashed inside two minutes.

A Welsh clearance only found Brown and the full back weaved past two before being brought to ground, but Yarde sliced through to score.

Evans converted and the home side were now searching for their firs four-try bonus point of the season.

And they didn’t have to wait long.

Evans pushed yet another scrum penalty in to the corner and quick ball resulted in Hopper diving over from Evans’ sublime offload.

Evans converted and Quins work for the afternoon was effectively done.

A rare scrum penalty saw Barkley go for touch and Welsh proceeded to throw everything at the home side’s defence, but to no avail.

The loss of Eddie Aholelei on a stretcher, just five minutes after coming on for his Welsh debut, compounded a miserable day.

Dave Ward appeared to lose the ball forward, but it was not spotted and when Dickson made for the line, Seb Stegmann’s last-ditch challenge on the scrum half was deemed worthy of a penalty try and a yellow card.

With the game opening up, Brown’s chip over the top was collected by Dickson for a simple run in for try No 6, and Yarde rounded things off by breaking a couple of tackles to cross for his second. Evans converted both to maintain a 100 per cent record.

Welsh had been unceremoniously put to the sword.

They can ill afford a repeat next Saturday against Newcastle.


Harlequins: Brown (Lindsay-Hague 70), Yarde, Hopper, Casson (Botica 46), Tikoirotuma, Evans, Care (Dickson 53, Marler (Lambert 53), Gray (Ward 57), Sinckler (Collier HT), Matthews, Robson (Twomey 64), Wallace, Robshaw (Sinckler 73), Easter (Trayfoot 64).
London Welsh: Jewell (Crane 14), Stegmann, Reynolds, May, Scott, Barkley (Roberts 63), Weepu (R Lewis 47), Reeves (Henn 47), Britton (Morris 55), Vea (Aholelei 55 (Vea 60)), Down, Schofield, P Browne, McCaffrey (Pienaar HT (Reeves 73)), Stedman (Hala’ufia 46).
Referee: D Richards.
Attendance: 13,657.


  • Do you want alerts delivered straight to your phone via our WhatsApp service? Text NEWS or SPORT or NEWS AND SPORT, depending on which services you want, and your full name to 07767 417704. Save our number into your phone’s contacts as Oxford Mail WhatsApp and ensure you have WhatsApp installed.