London Irish have come from behind to edge out Premiership champions Harlequins 22-19 in a thrilling match at The Stoop.
Trailing 14-10 at the break after converted tries from ‘Quins duo Oscar Beard and Luke Northmore either side of Agustin Creevy’s five-pointer, Declan Kidney’s side roared back in an absorbing second half to edge out their local rivals and seal a second win of the season.
Quins, who were without England duo Marcus Smith and Alex Dombrandt, dominated the early stages of the second half as the Irish defence valiantly held firm following a period of intense pressure from the home side.
But after finally breaking out of their own half the Exiles took the lead through Rob Simmons’ first try for the club.
The giant forward showed all the finishing skills of a winger to crash over in the corner after a Tom Parton break resulted in the ball being spread wide where it found the hands of the former Wallabies lock.
Scrum-half Ben White increased the Exiles’ advantage when he darted under a host of bodies following a line-out to touch down, with Paddy Jackson adding the extra two points from the conversion to give his side a 22-14 lead.
Beard scored his second try of the match 11 minutes from time, only for Huw Jones to miss the crucial conversion and keep Irish’s noses in front and set up a thrilling finish.
But it was Les Kiss’s side that finished in the ascendancy but were unable to finish off a host of gilt-edged chances to ice the win, keeping the door ajar for Quins to seal a last-ditch victory like they did in the corresponding fixture last season.
However, there was to be no repeat of those Harlequin heroics this time as the Exiles closed out the match and claim a deserved victory and move up to seventh on the table.