2 October 2015

London Irish travelled to the Stoop on Friday 2nd October for match two of the Cunningham Duncombe series. Harlequins carried a five point lead into the game, having won game one 22-17.

Tom Coventry made six changes to his starting lineup, with new signing Rob McCusker named at number eight.

In an exciting encounter that saw eight tries ran in in total, it was Harlequins who claimed a 29-37 win and with it the inaugral Cunningham Duncombe Series.

London Irish, who were the home side for this leg, started the stronger of the two teams. After building a promising position in the Harlequins 22, Chris Noakes delivered a pinpoint cross-field kick for Topsy Ojo to collect and dive in the corner.

Harlequins wasted no time in striking back, however. After setting up camp deep in London Irish territory, Luke Wallace found himself in space on the wing to sprint in and dot it down. Chris Evans added the extras to make it 5-7.

With Noakes and Evans trading blows with the boot, the score stood at 8-13 with ten to play in the first half. However, after a powerful scrum five metres from the Irish line, Mat Luamanu crashed over for Harlequins’ second try and Evans’ conversion made it 8 – 20.

The closing moments of the half saw the Exiles playing some promising rugby, with Alex Lewington and Andrew Fenby both making good inroads but Quins held on and kept an 8 – 20 lead into the break.

The second half saw Harlequins come out firing. Luke Wallace crossed for his second of the evening after 43 minutes and five minutes later a clever chip through from Evans found Tim Swiel in space who dived over to make it 8-32.

Irish fought back soon after, being held up over the Quins line on the first attempt it was Leo Halavatau who crashed over from short range and Christian Lewis-Pratt added the extras.

Seven minutes later it was Alex Lewington who was diving over for London Irsh.  A well worked move in midfield gave him the chance to show his pace and the winger sprinted away form 40 meters to dive under the posts with Lewis-Pratt again converting to make it 22-32.

Harlequins responded with a try of their own, Rob Buchanan claiming the try after a powerful maul. Again Irish struck back, Halavatau grabbing his second of the evening and the coversion from Lewis-Pratt made it 29-37 to set up a tense finale.

Despite intense Irish pressure, Harlequins held on and Ben Botica cleared to touch to claim the win and the inaugral Cunningham Duncombe series title for Harlequins.

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