Cadan Murley Helped Harlequins Move Up To Second
Two tries from Cadan Murley helped Harlequins move up to second position in the Premiership by beating Newcastle 24-10
Huw Jones, Louis Lynagh and Murley scored for Quins as they raced into a 16-point lead before Tom Marshall replied just prior to half-time.
Quins were reduced to 13 men for a second-half spell but Falcons could not capitalise on the numerical advantage.
Murley added his second try to wrap up the bonus point and consign Newcastle to a seventh straight league defeat.
Harlequins came into the match with an almost perfect record against Newcastle at home, having won 16 of their past 17 Twickenham Stoop meetings.
A quick start from Newcastle, however, saw them exert early pressure in front of the Quins’ try line.
But as soon as the home side reclaimed the ball, Murley broke from his own 22 to set up an attack at the other end, from which Tommy Allan passed to Jones to score.
Newcastle continued to have the better of the possession and territory, but struggled to gain many metres and get anything more than a Will Haydon-Wood penalty on the board.
By contrast, Harlequins were clinical whenever they got inside the Newcastle 22 as Danny Care picked out Murley who found a hole in the defence to score, and five minutes later Lynagh raced down the right wing for his 11th try of the season.
Marshall reduced Newcastle’s deficit to nine with a try on his debut Premiership start, carrying the ball over after Haydon-Wood got within a metre.
Newcastle have been on a torrid run, without a league win since beating Exeter on 6 November, but things seemed to swing their way when Luke Northmore was sent to the bin for a deliberate knock-on and Care followed soon after for stripping the ball off George McGuigan as he bundled towards the line.
Even with two extra men on the pitch, Newcastle could not repair the earlier damage, Haydon-Wood dropping the ball as he stretched across the try line which seemed to sum up their night before Quins expertly ran down the clock in possession.
Murley then went over in the corner with 12 minutes to go, after Care again picked him out from a line-out, to give Quins maximum points and leave Newcastle enduring their worst league run since 2014.
Harlequins coach Tabai Matson said:
“If you told me before the game we’d be getting a 24-10 scoreline, I’d have been over the moon.
“When we got opportunities, we took them and they probably didn’t.
“They’ll probably have two or three they’ll be really disappointed with, especially when we went down to 13 men, so ‘clinical’ is a good word.
“As always, there are bits of the performance we’re pretty unhappy with and that’s a good sign. To pick up a five-point win at home and be disappointed with parts of the game proves we’re travelling well.”
Newcastle head coach Dave Walder told BBC Radio
“It’s important we learn from this but we can’t keep saying every week ‘let’s learn’.
“We had 10 minutes when they were down to 13 men, and it was questionable whether it should have been a penalty try or not. I think a yard from the line it’s a pretty good tackle to stop an off-load but that’s by-the-by. It didn’t go our way.
“From there we made a couple of poor decisions and against a champion team we conceded tries a bit too soft.
“We played pretty well in terms of creating things, we just lacked a ruthless edge.”
Harlequins: Green, Lynagh, Jones, Esterhuizen, Murley, Allan, Care; Marler, Riley, Louw, Symons, Tizard, Lewies, Lawday, White.
Replacements: Walker, Kerrod, Collier, Hammond, Jurevicius, Gjaltema, Edwards, Northmore.
Sin bin: Northmore (52), Care (54).
Newcastle: Brown, Penny, Wacokecoke, Lucock, Radwan, Haydon-Wood, Nordli-Kelemeti; Davison, McGuigan, Tampin, Peterson, Farrar, Robinson, Basham, Marshall.
Replacements: Maddison, Brocklebank, Palframan, Montgomery, Lockwood, Schreuder, Connon, Wright.